Beauty and the Beast
by Northglenn Youth Theatre

Unless one has been living under a very large rock, everyone on Planet Earth knows the story of “Beauty & The Beast.”  What makes the musical shine on its own merit, away from what tonight’s fellow audience members referred to as “the cartoon,” is the ability the show has to bring to the characters the humanity that isn’t possible on film.  Belle’s now famous “Home,” Beast’s pained “If I Can’t Love Her,” and the lovely Maurice/Belle duet “No Matter What” are all Broadway’s enticements into a deeper world from the simple “girl meets ugly guy” formula.

At Northglenn Youth Theatre’s opening night of the show, many things fell into place just perfectly.  Set designer glenn g. grassi’s icy palace was unexpected and lovely, with just the right amount of sparkle.  Particular elements of the design were quite well thought out, including the portrait of the Prince (just the right amount of “creepy”, but still beautiful) and Beast’s oversized chair.  Many of the costumes were stunning - Lumiere, Wardrobe, Cogsworth and Babette in particular.  As a whole, the music direction, by Glenn Dennis, is right on target.  The cast knows every lyric and the musical components come together nicely.  The addition of the flute, by Linda Luchtenburg, added much and was especially appreciated. 

Use of the group’s space was well-conceived.  The show is a technical director’s, costume designer’s and director’s nightmare.  Ideally, it is produced on a stage the size of a football field, and it seems no one has that luxury.   Where the group struggled with opening night glitches - the Prince/Beast transformation accidentally happened in full view of a third of the house, Cogsworth’s handle fell off (but was deftly saved by quick-thinking actors and, in the end, was hysterical), the curtain was caught on a set piece leaving the castle in view when it wasn’t quite planned that way - the show will polish up in subsequent performances.

Here, the cast’s principal performers included Ethan Knowles as the Beast, who has a lovely singing voice.  Unfortunately, his fully covering mask makes it very difficult for his voice to be heard well and truly shine.  Janelle Orsborn plays the famous Belle with her usual innate ability for solid timing and inflection.  Brandon Lopez as Gaston is larger than life as his side-kick, Alex Millinazzo, is appropriately goofy.  Drew Meile has a nice turn as Maurice, Belle’s father.  Stewart McPherson as Cogsworth, Brandi Hadfield as Mrs. Potts and Kayleigh Brooks as Babette all do solid work in their roles.  Christopher Bowman plays Chip, Jordan Manchego is Monsieur D’Arque and the trio of Silly Girls is played by Amy Fuhrman, Lauren Johnston and Ashley Ziegler.  And then there are Carrie Buechner as Madame de la Grand Bouche (aka Wardrobe) and Michael Ochoa as Lumiere, who are really acting in another show altogether - their “big” performances really kick both of these characters into life with a whole new dimension of fun and personality.  They were the delights of this production.

Congratulations to Director Kimberly Jongejan and all of the crew on this production, the 15th anniversary of the Northglenn Youth Theatre program and the virtually sold-out run of “Beauty & The Beast”.  You made it through “the tale as old as time”!

Performs April 24 - May 3, 2009.

Tammy Franklin
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Belle: Janelle Orsborn
The Beast: Ethan Knowles
Maurice: Drew Meile
Gaston: Brandon Lopez
Lefou: Alex Milianazzo
Mrs. Potts: Brandi Hadfield
Lumiere: Michael Ochoa
Cogsworth: Stewart McPherson
Chip: Christopher Bowman
Madame La Grand Bouche: Carrie Buechner
Babette: Kayleigh Brooks
Silly Girl #1: Amy Furhman
Silly Girl #2: Lauren Johnston
Silly Girl #3: Ashley Ziegler
Monsieur D’Arque Jordan Manchego           


Kevin Lucero (Narrator, Wolf, Crony, Mob)
Logan Snodderly (Villager, Crony, BOG, HA)
Dalton Royer (Villager, Crony, BOG, HA)
Ryan Bowman (Villager – Baker, Crony, BOG, Mob)
Noah Trichie (Villager, Crony, BOG, HA)
Spencer Spotts (Villager – Candleman, Crony, BOG, HA)
Michael Martinez (Villager – Egg Man, Crony, BOG, HA)
James Bachman (Villager – Bookseller, Crony, BOG, Mob)
Heather Taylor (Beggar/Enchantress, BOG, Mob)
Mitchell Dailey (Wolf, Crony, Mob)
Johnathon Torres (Wolf, Crony, Mob)
Isaac Sprague (Villager, Crony, BOG, HA)
Johnnie Sloan (Villager, Crony, BOG, HA)
Josh Kregg (Villager, Crony, BOG, Mob)
Abigail Orsborn (Villager, BOG, Mob)
Heidi Cole (Villager, Bog, HA)
Emma Tocci (Villager – SCG, BOG, HA)
Shelby Grasser (Villager – Milkmaid, BOG, HA)
Claire Wood (Villager – Lady w/ Baby, BOG, Mob)
Savannah Hoeben (Villager, BOG, Mob)
Katelynn Luchtenburg (Villager – Hat Seller, BOG, HA)
Katie Fletcher (Villager – Baker’s Wife, BOG, HA)
Kyle Steeno (Villager – Fishman, Crony, BOG, Mob, US for Lumiere)
Blakeley Wood (Villager – Lady w/Cane, BOG, Mob, US for Mrs. Potts)

Rylee Caldwell (Villager – Aristocrat Lady, BOG, HA, US for Belle)


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