Wednesday, June 6, 2012

REVIEW: The Academy of Music Presents 'Beauty and the Beast'


Growing up I was obsessed with the concept of 'happily ever after'. I didn't have any evil stepsisters and my mother wasn't murdered by hunters, however, I still daydreamed about the day my prince would rescue me and I too would live 'happily ever after'. 

My favorite fairytale was 'Beauty and the Beast'! And I'm not just saying this for the sake of this review ; I honestly consider this to be a classic love tale. The only way Prince Adam could break the spell Enchantress cast upon him was to learn to love and be loved. Enter Belle, our Beauty, add Gaston, the typical antagonist, and a slew of other characters adding comedic relief and shedding light on this dim tale and here we have 'Beauty and the Beast'. 

The original creators of the Broadway play, the original design team, and the original score have all been meshed together to create a theatrical wonder piece. The animated version literally jumped to life with the scene changes the design team put together. Add in five new songs sung by wonderful performers and there is nothing not to love about this production. The script remains the same so the only fear I had was that the acting wouldn't be up to par. Luckily, these performers proved me wrong. Emily Behny was totally believable as Belle. Which wasn't hard; what's not to love about Belle? Her performance was warm and her personality firm. Dane Agostinis is our 'Beast' and his baritone voice combined with his confidence showed us exactly why he was selected for the role. Lumière and Cogsworth were the dynamic duo, keeping the laughs coming, while Mrs. Potts and her optimism kept our hearts smiling. Gaston played his role perfectly, I almost wanted to 'boo' when he took his bow at the end. 

We all know the details of this classic tale and this production does it much justice. Everything from the lighting, swift scene changes, and amazing vocals makes this a wonderful show. The running time is approximately 2 1/2 hours but the way the cast captures your attention the time flies by, making it enjoyable for even the younger children. 

MAIN CAST
Director: Rob Roth 
Belle: Emily Behny 
Beast: Dane Agostinis 
Gaston: Matt Farcher 

BEHIND THE SCENES
Costume Design: Ann Hould-Ward 
Lighting Design: Natasha Katz 
Scenic Design: Stanley A. Meyer 
Sound Design: John Petrafesa Jr. 
Music Supervision: Michael Kosarin 
Choreography: Matt West *score with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by the late Howard Ashman, with additional songs with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice  


PHOTOS BY: Joan Marcus

-- Nola Darling

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