Skip to content

Broadway’s “Beast” a Real Beauty at Overture

January 15, 2016

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
, the Broadway musical adaptation of the 1991 animated film feature, opened to a near sell-out crowd at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, Wis., Wednesday night. The “tale as old as time” closely follows the animated film’s story of a beautiful young woman, Belle, (Brooke Quintana) who lives with her eccentric inventor father, Maurice (Thomas Mothershed) in a small provincial town somewhere in France. Belle is pursued by Gaston (Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek), the handsome – if egotistical — young hunter who believes outward appearances define one’s worth. Belle’s encounter with the Beast, really a prince under the spell of an enchantress, occurs after the Beast imprisons her father for trespassing. Belle volunteers to trade places with her father in the enchanted castle. So the adventure begins.

As you may recall, the Beast is not the only one who has been affected by the evil spell cast upon him when he refused entry to his castle by an ugly hag. All of the servants were also placed under the spell. Luminere (Ryan N. Phillips) the talking candellabra, Cogsworth (Samuel Shurtleff), the talking clock, Mrs. Potts (Stephanie Gray), and her adorable son chip (Kadence Edwards or Deandre Horner, depending on the performance) the teapot, Babette (Melissa Jones), the duster, and of course, Madame de la Grand Bouche (Stephanie Harter Gilmore), the wardrobe.


The musical is technically interesting in its use of puppets similar to those used in the Broadway musical, Lion King. The transition of the Beast into the handsome prince is visually interesting and very well done. But what stands out in this production is the quality of the singers/dancers. As the production opened, I wondered how they would handle “Be Our Guest”, the no-holds-barred number that features whirling candlesticks, knives, forks, spoons, plates, cups and saucers singing and dancing to the delight of Belle. I assumed that it would be omitted. But I was wrong. In a brilliant array of dancing cutlery and china, the musical troupe pulled off the number in a delightful display of movement and color.

There were other highlights in the production as well. Gaston (Smith-Kotlarek) is hilarious as he saunters and swaggers his way across stage trying to win Belle’s attention. She isn’t impressed. Gaston and his sidekick Lefou (Matt Dasilva) plot, preen, and provoke throughout the production providing a refreshing reflection at the true nature of beauty. Is it physical appearance? Or is it the more subtle intellect, heart, and soul of a person? The answer lies in the story, and the touring troupe does a magnificent job of telling it.

Gaston and Lefou


Disney’s Beauty and the Beast runs through Sunday, January 17, 2016 at the Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St., Madison, Wis.


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: