Beauty and the Beast Broadway musical review
I’ve been on a Disney musical high recently. Last week I saw The Lion King Broadway musical for the first time at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, CA. Although I didn’t think it was the greatest, it was still enjoyable (most of the people in my group who went loved it). Last night I attended the opening night show for Beauty and the Beast, the beloved Broadway musical, at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, CA. I highly recommend anyone who’s a fan of Disney, Beauty and the Beast, and/or musicals in general to watch this show. It’s touring nationwide now and is currently at the Segerstrom Center until January 19, 2014.
The Beauty and the Beast Broadway musical premiered in 1994, and it’s touring across the nation this year (see if tickets are near you). It is based on the Disney animated movie of the same name and follows the story of Belle, a beautiful bookworm, who meets the scary Beast in an enchanted castle. The Beast used to be a human prince, but due to his cold heart, he was turned into a hideous Beast by an enchantress. As for his servants? They turned into various household…”castlehold” items.
All of the characters from the animated movie are back in the musical including Gaston, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth, Maurice, Lefou and Chip. Rob Roth, the original director for the Broadway show, is once again returning. Some other minor characters in the movie now have expanded roles including Babette the feather duster and Madame de la Grande Bouche the wardrobe.
If you’ve seen the animated Beauty and the Beast, then most of the plot points shouldn’t be surprising to you. The musical is a very enjoyable experience that includes extravagant dance sequences, live singing and performances, elaborate costumes, and smooth scene transitions thanks to the stage handlers and direction. The musical mainly uses flat backgrounds and small and large mobile set pieces that interchange on the spot. This helps move the story along without having to wait for the curtains to drop. People who attend the musical are also treated with new musical numbers not seen in the movie, including one of my favorite new songs, “Human Again”. (It has now been added back into the Beauty and the Beast home release as an extended cut.)
Hilary Maiberger as Belle is easily the highlight of the musical. Her voice and beauty are captivating, and she’s excellent in portraying the kind and strong character. Gaston also shines as the villain. He is easily likeable for a jerk and oozes charisma. Other highlights include Lumiere, the candelabra.
There are some parts of the show that might be a tad bit inappropriate. For example, there’s one scene with Lumiere and Babette that gets really suggestive. Another scene involved female dancers showing off legs and underwear. I’d be okay with it in a musical for adults, but watching this with children around felt awkward.
The one disappointment I had was with Darick Pead as the Beast. I’m not sure whose idea is it to make the Beast silly, but it didn’t sit well with me. The Beast is supposed to be scary and threatening, but most of the time I just see him as a whiny character. And trying to add comedy to the character was a bad move and out of character.
Gaston’s musical number of the same name is the showstopper for the night. It’s a fun performance with all the girls swooning over the villainous hunk and ends with a large cast dancing and clanking with their mugs. Another impressive musical number is “Be Our Guest”, with the crowd being treated with streamers.
Come and check out the show if you’re nearby. It’s a huge treat where you’ll be transported to the world of Beauty and the Beast. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll root for the two lover birds to fall in love with each other.