May 27-June 1, 2014 at the Schuster Center. The romantic Broadway musical for all generations, Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, the smash hit Broadway musical, is coming to Dayton!
Though it’s a tale as old as time, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” never shows any signs of age. It’s always a delight to witness and the musical production at the Schuster Center through June 1 is no exception. The classic fairytale is brought to life with vivid characters, colorful costumes and wonderful singing for a show all ages will enjoy.
A moral of the story is that true beauty comes from within, but every aspect of “Beauty and the Beast” is totally captivating. The standard of beauty is set by Hilary Maiberger as Belle who is perfectly cast as the ‘Beauty.’ Her beauty radiates throughout the entire theater due to her splendid voice, that’s as pure as any angels. Her vocal talents shine the most during her rendition of ‘A Change in Me’ towards the end of Act II.
Her counterpart, the ‘Beast’ (Darick Pead) was equally as impressive with his performance. A ferocious beast with a bark, much worse than his bite, beneath the monstrous exterior is just a wounded soul seeking love. Extra credit goes to Pead for adding a few traits to his character, which not only adds some extra laughs, but some freshness to the iconic role. Rather than just a dastardly villain, the Beast becomes someone you root for.
Beyond the heart warming love story, the reasons “Beauty and the Beast” is a favorite of mine are two songs. The first is ‘Be Our Guest’ which not only met my expectations, but exceeded them. Lumiere (Hassan Nazari-Robati) and company presents a meal that Chef Gordon Ramsey couldn’t even compete with. It’s so rich with flavor that your whole insides, from head to toe, feels the sensations of delight. ‘Be Our Guest’ is a smorgasbord for the senses as large portions of visual and audible masterpieces are served. I’m glad the show continued, but it could have ended right then and I would have been satisfied.
On second thought, I would have a complaint, because my second favorite song would have been skipped, the title song, ’Beauty and the Beast.’ Sung by Mrs. Potts (Kristin Stewart), the song contains the right amount of sugar (not overly sweet), with no artificial flavoring (sung straight from the heart), and is brewed to perfection.
The entire cast excels in their roles, including James May whose timing is pitch perfect as Cogsworth; Tim Rogan as the hilariously arrogant Gaston; and Roxy York as the operatic Madamme de la Grande Bouche. Special mention to Jordan Aragon (LeFou) a scene stealer who endures more physical punishment than an MMA fighter, and he always bounces right back up for more.
Also deserving of mention is the ensemble, not only for their contributions to ‘Be Our guest’ but for their work during the song ‘Gaston.’ They turn their beer mugs into instruments and creates their own type of drinking game, which is fun to watch.
‘Beauty and the Beast’ will remind you of why this ageless tale is a classic. It continues at the Schuster Center through June 1.
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.
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