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Review

Disney's Beauty and the Beast
by Morgan-Wixson Theatre

THE SHOW:  

Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, Book by Linda Woolverton. Adapted from Disney’s 1991 animated film and based on the fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont.  

Disney’s hugely successful film became the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, and just three years later became the first Disney animated film to be turned into a Broadway musical. The tale as old as time features a prince who has been transformed into a beast by a curse, punishing him for his coldness to a stranger in need. The only way to break the curse is for him to fall in love, and earn her love in return. Secluded in his now enchanted castle where all the residents are turning into “things,” the beauty Belle arrives just as the deadline to reverse the curse is approaching. But he’ll have to transform his personality, and Belle will have to learn to love a beast, before an enchanted rose’s last petal falls. The magical score includes songs written for the stage including Home and If I Can’t Love Her, and classics from the movie including the title song and Be Our Guest.  

THE PRODUCTION:  

Director Anne Gesling and her talented team at Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica put on a beautiful production filled with impressive visuals, lots of fresh, fun humor, and good drama. Bringing home that humor and drama is a terrific cast who have a strong feel for their characters, those characters nicely introduced to us by our narrators Delaney Joy and Sadie Saltzman.  

Quinn D’Andrea is our Belle whose lovely vocals shine in her musical numbers, and who shines even brighter whether dealing comically with an unwanted marriage proposal and getting into a dance off during dinner at the enchanted castle, or dealing with the fear of her life being turned upside down in a poignant singing of Home. Her emotions are always heartfelt and genuine. Scott Senior is our Beast, using voice and body language to slowly and deftly transform from an angry, brooding, selfish beast into a completely likeable and endearingly nervous guy falling in love for the first time. Looking to have Belle as his life-long foot masseuse is James Olivas who has both the physical stature, the deep voice (but also a higher voice when Belle delivers a well-placed kick), and a knack for over-the-top vanity that all make for a great Gaston.  

The enchanted objects also feature a wealth of talent. Thirteen-year-old Zoe D’Andrea is a remarkable Mrs. Potts with a gorgeous singing voice that helps draw Beauty and the Beast together, and a charming, slightly quirky personality. While two more thirteen-year-olds, Chandler David and Ben Helscher, are an entertaining team as the uptight Cogsworth and easygoing Lumiere, the latter doing a nice job leading the cast in Be Our Guest. Chanelle O’Neill, as flirtatious feather duster Babette, is totally lovable with an easy, natural sense of humor. Alyssa Jaffe  is both amusing and nails the operatic voice, and Zelda Saltzman is a charismatic Chip. They lead a well done Human Again full of hope, and you feel their sudden hopelessness when learning that Belle has left the castle.  

Creative choreographer Lauren Blair and her cast of performers add much throughout the show. The huge Gaston number, led by eager sidekick LeFou (Gigi Nibbelink), is a hit as the always fun Silly Girls twirl by to pluck out Gaston’s chest hairs and as Gaston finds himself tormented by the smallest girls of the small, provincial town. The Mob Song is appropriately dark and fearful and determined. Be Our Guest is brilliant. It includes lots of character development as Belle interacts with the others whether it be delighting in dancing the can-can, running playfully across the rug who just collapsed, or getting into a tango battle between Lumiere, Babette, and Cogsworth. And it includes a joyous celebration of new friends, and lots of good food. While the nervousness of new romance captured in the dance between Beauty and the Beast finds the heart of the tale.

Performed November 9 - December 14, 2013

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 


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Narrators: Delaney Joy & Sadie Saltzman
Opening Prince: Quinn Robinson
Enchantress: Eva Wholey
The Beast: Scott Senior
Belle: Quinn D’Andrea
Baker: Ethan Schyman
Bookseller: Quinn Robinson
Gaston: James Olivas
LeFou: Gigi Nibbelink
Silly Girls:
Ciara Brewer
Maya Kleiman
Ximena Medina
Alexandra Senior
Maurice: Zane Michael
Wolves:
Ciara Brewer
Maya Kleiman
Alexandra Senior
Eva Wholey
Lumiere: Ben Helscher
Cogsworth: Chandler David
Babette: Chanelle O’Neill
Mrs. Potts: Zoe D’Andrea
Chip: Zelda Saltzman
Madame de la Grande Bouche: Alyssa Jaffe
Monsieur D’Arque: Quinn Robinson
Ensemble:
Ciara Brewer
Mia Ferrara
Jolie Glasser
Delaney Joy
Maya Kleiman
Emery Komlos
Sasha Jade
Joey Maya
Ximena Medina
Zane Michael
Lena Moore
Milla Moretti
Gigi Nibbelink
Quinn Robinson
Miranda Pla
Benni Ruby
Sophie Salisbury
Sadie Saltzman
Jake Schroeder
Ethan Schyman
Alexandra Senior
Sara Stohl
Eliana Stuart
Lily Tenzer
Charlotte Weinman
Eva Wholey
Rhiannon Winters

Producers: Joey Moretti & Tracy Saltzman
Director/Music Director: Anne Gesling
Choreographer: Lauren Blair
Assistant Director/Stage Manager: Larry Gesling
Assistant Choreographer: Laura Sheehan
Technical Director: Thomas Brown
Set Design: Matt Sheehan
Lighting Design: William Wilday
Sound Design: Bob Marino
Makeup: Monna Mainwaring
Lighting Technicians: Korey Valentine-Murray & Ella Ward
Sound Technicians: Sydney Druckman & Fiona Porter
Photography: Ashly Stohl


   

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