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Review

 
 
Before there was Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, there was Metropolitan Educational Theatre Network’s original musical version of the fairy tale with music by Michael Heinzsch, lyrics by Anne Stanley, and a book by Anne Stanley, the company’s founder Alex H. Urban, and his daughter and the current director, Alison Bretches.

Although the two versions share the essential elements of the fairy tale (with a Beast in a castle, a beautiful woman in a nearby town who can save him with her love, and a magic rose) the stories are quite different. This one has a very surreal, hypnotic, dreamlike quality throughout it, beginning with the opening as the Gypsy Queen begs for shelter at the castle but is refused. As she dies, she utters her curse, and the servants are turned into faceless watchers while the cold prince is turned into the Beast.

This is followed by the scene that truly is a dream, as Beauty watches the large gypsy dance led by the charismatic, comedic, and dynamic Ellipsis (Harold Wise). The mesmerizing Gypsy Queen (Beth Roby) then tells a scary story to the children of the town (resulting in several excited screams) and offers to tell one person their future for free. Though Beauty (Tina Leef) tries to get someone else chosen, she herself is picked, and is told that she’ll have to give up the one thing she loves to have all she deserves. That is when she awakens, and finds herself still at home in the once wealthy family’s small cottage where they struggle to get by.

When they hear that their ship, once thought lost, had returned to port, possibly restoring the family’s wealth, the father travels to the port. But he comes across the Beast’s castle along the way. The father is treated graciously, but as he leaves for home, he takes a beautiful rose, which is all his daughter Beauty had asked for. The Beast (Frank Romeo) is furious at this theft, and holds the father prisoner until Beauty comes in search of her father. In the forest she is haunted by visions who dance about her and then carry her off to the castle like a sacrifice, ending the first act.

It isn’t until the second act when Beauty and Beast finally meet, wherein she experiences the dreamy magic of the castle (including a mysterious Bird Room featuring Elipsis and the cast performing the big, colorful musical number Free). She also finds music box ballerinas and toy soldiers who dance to the lullaby Beauty’s late mother used to sing. Beauty and the Beast begin to fall in love to the song Someone Like You, although Beauty’s final epiphany comes with her lovely solo I Once Thought Love Would Be So Easy. But is it too late?

The cast is full of strong singers and dancers, and there are a lot of demanding and enchanting dance numbers led by Harold Wise, Kaeli Carr, and Amanda Carr, and choreographed by Director Alison Bretches. Vibrant costumes and sets, embraced by the dreamy music, dancing, and storyline, all provide an intriguing take on the immortal story.

Performs November 21 - 22, 2009

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~
 

Beast: Frank Romeo
Beauty: Tina Leef
Elipsis: Harold Wise
Gypsy Queen: Beth Roby
Father: Jacob Harvey
Beauty's Mother: Debbie Stuart
Young Beauty: Sophia Goepsert
Tanya: Jessica Posey
Olga: Angelica Gorga
Ellie: Danielle Ucman
Sasha: Collin King
Peter: Dante Hernandez
Alex: Zack Waters
Captain Sobotka: Ross Watkins
Sailor 1: Jason Solomon/Damien Johnson
Sailor 2: Ryan Villegas
Gypsy Brother 1: Anthony Fisher
Gypsy Brother 2: Ryan Villegas
Gypsy King: Ben Cabral
Lead Gypsy Dancers: Kaeli Carr and Amanda Carr
Toy Ballerina: Kaeli Carr
Toy Soldier: Lane Palhegyi

Ensemble:
Rhys Almario
Ryan Almario
Nina Alvarez
Annabelle Anderson
Emma Anderson
Susi Anderson
Tait Anderson
Teo Anderson
Warren Anderson
Jennie Andreacola
Natalya Antar
Kate Armstrong
Lucy Arvizu
Sofia Asch
Jeffrey Atterbury
Alexis Baker
Hallie Baker
Allison Bell
Hannah Bourasa
Megan Bourasa
Madeleine Brown
Ben Cabral
Elyssa Camerino
Victoria Celano
Alison Cheung
Luke Chevrie
Kristin Cleavinger
Faith Cobbs
Lauren Cohen
David Coleman
Lisa Coleman
Emelie Comer
Hannah Comer
Morgan Curella
Taylor Davis
Maeve Delgado
Rebecca Dhillon
Kyle Donahue
JD Duffield
Jesse Duffield
Alexa Emmenegger
Joe Emmenegger
Elizabeth Faaborg
Paige Faaborg
Adia Feigner
Anna Ferrante
Kirsten Filler
Anthony Fisher
Carmen Galmes
Samantha Garrity
Brystal Geu
McKenna Geu
Spencer Geu
Christopher Glenon
Oliver Goepfert
Sophia Goepfert
Zoe Goldstein
Alexandria Gorga
Angelica Gorga
Laurel Gray
Carli Halverson
Aydan Hartel
Emily Hempton
Katherine Hempton
Laura Hempton
Sarah Hempton
Lauren Henry
Alexis Hernandez
Dante Hernandez
Vanessa Hernandez
Christy Heyne
Savannah Hobb
Madison Hobbs
Brooke Isaacs
Megan Jacobs
Anne Marie Jaminet
Kristina Johnson
Tina Joshi
Haley Josten
Sydney Joyner
Kevin Kapka
Emily Kerrigan
Katelyn Keyser
Cambry King
Collin King
Natasha Klingenbrunn
Thomas Koelzer
Brian Krause
Jessica Kychik
Daria Levchenkok
Quinlan Lewis-Mussa
Toby Lindsay
Allison Lloyd
Morgan Lynn
Spencer Lynn
Ysabelle Manasala
Rowan McNeil-Spooner
Sophia McNeil-Spooner
Courtney Miller
Emerson Miller
Gabriella Moore
Melissa Moreau
Michael Moreau
Elora Nielson
Rhiannon Nielson
Elena O'Connell
Katie O'Connell
Daniel O'Meara
Molly O'Meara
Meghan O'Neill
Zoe Opalec
Lane Palhegi
Jake Palid
Ashley Palluconi
Sarah Palluconi
Sophie Polonichko
Jessica Posey
Beth Roby
Courtney Roby
Stephanie Roby
Lexie Roche
Yasmin Ruiz
Stephanie Sawaya
Carissa Shelton
Silvia Simon
Erin Sinfield
Amber Smith
Jason Solomon
Sammi Solomon
Jessica Stern
Laila Stewart
Chloe Stuart
Debbie Stuart
Kyla Stuart
Malia Stuart
Aeriel Suarez
Lucy Sullivan
Madeline Sullivan
Maxine Sutton
Jake Taylor
Sarah Trott
Danika Twogood
Danielle Ucman
Elizabeth Ucman
Kathleen Ulrich
Shenendoah Utech
Elizabeth Vacca
Anya Vail
Merida Van Tyne
Gia Versales
Lauren Vildibill
Hannah Von Sohlen
Lucas Walsh
Zach Waters
Roma Watkins
Ross Watkins
Mi Whitaker
Amy Williams
Elizabeth Williams
Harold Wise
Shelby Wolfe
Samantha Yeater
Trevor Yeater
Danielle Zamorano
Sarah Zeldin

Director and Choreographer: Alison Bretches
Assitant Directors/Dance Captains:
Jessica Ash
Kaeli Carr
Katie McGhie
Musical Director: Ryan Cantwell
Lighting Design: Brianna Pattillo
Costume Design: Kathie Urban
Scenic Design & Content:
Alison Bretches
Trevor Collins
Michael Panman
Alex Urban
Show Musicians:
Keyboard - Graham Jackson
Keyboard and Percussion - Ryan Cantwell
Production Photography: Naney Hickey
Production Stage Manager: Jacob Harvey
Associate Producer: Mary Clausen
Executive Producer: Kathie Urban

   

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