Written by James Nelson, Technology Editor for InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential
Photography courtesy of Kirk Tuck.
“Tale as old as time”? If you’re the parent of a young child who has watched a certain Disney animated film on video over and over and over, it might seem that way. When you take that child – or if you just go on your own – to the ZACH Theatre’s production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, you may be surprised at how fresh and well-animated it all seems. Despite all the familiarity of this tale of a cursed prince-turned-beast who manages to win over the smartest, prettiest, and most headstrong girl in a “poor provincial town,” there’s a lightness and sweetness to Artistic Director Dave Steakley’s production that will win you over.
The production is also distinguished by its cast. The main cast is solid. They are competent singers as well as actors, thus doing justice to the nature of a musical. The star of the show is clearly Briana Brooks who plays Belle, the Beauty, and Alexander Mendoza, who plays the Beast, is very good too. During the second act, when the plot centers almost exclusively on the romance between Belle and the Beast, Brooks and Mendoza deliver a depth of feeling that makes this play especially heartwarming. It’s no accident this tale that teaches children about the benefits of kindness, courtesy, and respect, has proven so durable with several generations.
The supporting performers bring lightheartedness and laughter to the show. The self-absorbed buffoon Gaston is played with gusto by Matthew Redden, who is amusing as he flexes and fumbles in “Me” and the eponymous tune “Gaston” with adorable sidekick LeFou played by Kevin Pellicone never too far away. The happy bunch of household objects that also happen to be the Beast’s servants are highly entertaining with their own individual sparkle and include the hilarious, tightly wound clock Cogsworth played by John Christopher, and his animated candelabra friend Lumiere played by Martin Burke. Sassy Babette played by Jennifer Blakeney Youngi and over-the-top Madame De La Grande Bouche played by June Julian also add fun and flair. Little Chip is played by Wilkes Goodner and Lucca Ostrovich. Chip’s protective and doting teapot mother Mrs. Potts played by Meredith McCall charmed the crowd with “Beauty and the Beast.”
The Zach Theatre does a fantastic job with their latest family-friendly production. No matter how old you are, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will touch your heart and fill it with happiness and hope. Get tickets and be their guest.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Plays ZACH’s Topfer Stage from July 11 thru September 2, 2018.
My comments on the accommodations at ZACH Theatre:
- Greeted immediately and provided a layout of the facility
- Box office staff very pleasant and friendly. Had our tickets available immediately
- Nice selection at the bar
- Acoustics are great
- All seats have a great view
- Convenient parking
- Nice local artwork on display