Accepting Each Other Differences
The historical tale of 'Beauty and The Beast' was written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and was published in 1740. Her extended version was abridged, rewritten, and published first by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756 in Magasin des enfants.
For centuries this enchanting unlikely love story has captured the hearts of many; especially little girls who dreamed of becoming a princess one day. The beloved classic was made into a movie in 1991 by Disney and has been depicted over the years in books and television.
Beauty and the Beast is the story of Belle (Erica Stephan) a beautiful and intelligent young lady who is considered a misfit by many in her rural community because of her desire to read. Belle becomes the heroine of her own story when her father, the town's inventor who is considered a weirdo gets lost in the forest and stumbles into the castle. Doomed to spend a life in the dungeon for trespassing, Belle gives up her freedom for her father and is imprisoned in a castle full of enchanting misfits and a terrifying beast (Brandon Contreras).
Belle has no idea that her presence there will be life changing in breaking a wicked spell that was magically placed on the prince that transformed him into a beast as well as all of the servants within the castle.
The musical that continues to win the hearts of people all over the world won an Academy Award for its Disney film, and it was nominated nine times for a Tony based on the book by Linda Woolverton. The animated romantic fantasy fairy tale is now playing at Drury Lane Theatre full of enchantment and allurement for all ages.
Beauty and the Beast is filled with authentic emotions, humor, laughter and some unforgettable beloved characters such as Mrs. Potts (teapot) played by Bri Sudia. Nick Cosgrove played the head of the household staff that's now a clock named Cogsworth the clock, however, Tony Carter steals the show in one of the best performances of the night playing the kind-hearted but rebellious valet, Lumière. Carter's grandiose and ostentatious candelabra were hilarious and entertaining.
The stage which was darkened throughout the play set the tone for the evening with a staircase that escalated upward and moving throughout the play; which allowed the prince to change into a beast that scales into the sky where he could see the petals of the rose slowly dying before his eyes.
As the clock ticks and the petals continue to fall off of the magical rose, the enchanted household of misfits eagerly awaits to see if Belle and the Beast can learn to befriend one another before its too late; hoping, that they will fall in love so that the spell will be broken.
Beauty and The beast has captured our hearts for many years as a musical that still resonates in finding the quest for kindred souls to connect. People may look or act differently; however, there is always a common thread to join them together. The beguiling tale demonstrates that no matter the circumstances; whether rich or poor we are more alike than we are different searching for acceptance.
We would have liked to have seen a scarier, monster-like facial makeup on the beast, however, the lyrics of the play theme song ‘Beauty and The Beast’ written by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken will stay in your heart long after the play is over.
Let's Play ‘Highly Recommend' this splendid musical at Drury Lane Theatre.
The cast includes:
Erica Stephan (Belle)
Shanna Vanderwerker (Enchantress)
Samuel Gardner (Young Prince)
Isaiah Silvia-Chandley (Bookseller)
Paul Michael Thomson (Lefou)
Mark Banik (Gaston)
Shantel Cribbs, Conner Wayne Milam, Courtney Martin (Three Silly Girls)
Greg Blackmon, Maya Kitayama, Ivory Le
Leonard IV, Zach Porter (Wolves)
Nick Cosgrove (Cogsworth)
Tony Carter (Lumiere)
Allison Sill (Babette)
Bri Sudia (Mrs. Potts)
Sophie Ackerman (Chip)
Graham Carlson (Chip, at certain performances)
Brandon Contreras (Beast)
Catherine Smitko (Madame de la Grande Bouche)
Billy Rude (Monsieur D' Arque)
The ensemble includes Jeremiah Alsop, Anthony Avino, Greg Blackmon, Isaiah Silvia-Chandley, Liz Conway, Shantel Cribbs, Timothy P. Foszcz, Samuel Gardner, Maya Kitayama, Ivory Leonard IV, Omar Madden, Courtney Martin, Conner Wayne Milam,Zach Porter, Emma Rosenthal, Billy Rude, Monica Thomas, and Shanna VanDerwerker.
Drury Lane Theatre Presents
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice
Book by Linda Woolverton
Originally Directed by Robert Jess Roth
Originally Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions
November 9, 2018 – January 27, 2019
Filed under: ChicagoNow