Review "Disney's Beauty and The Beast": Push Play!

Broadway in Chicago

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NETworks Presentations, LLC presents

Disney's Beauty and the Beast

At Cadillac Palace Theatre

151 W. Randolph

Written by Linda Woolverton

Lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice

Music by Alan Menken

Originally produced by Disney Theatrical Productions

Directed by Rob Roth

Thru April 4th

Buy Tickets

Running Time:  Two hours and thirty-five minutes includes a fifteen minute intermission

 

Spectacular tiaras and beautiful ball gowns... and that's just the little girls in the audience!  Broadway in Chicago with NETworks Presentations, LLC presents the award-winning worldwide smash-hit musical, Disney's Beauty and the Beast.  Originally produced by Walt Disney Pictures as an animated feature film, the show was adapted for the stage in 1994 and enjoyed a thirteen year Broadway stint.    Disney's Beauty and the Beast has logged over 15,000 performances in more than 120 cities and 21 countries.  A traditional fairytale with French origins from the 18th century, Disney's Beauty and the Beast is about a spoiled prince who pisses off the wrong enchantress.  To punish him, she casts a spell transforming him into a beast and his servants into household appliances.  To break the curse, the beast must learn to love and be loved.  Just beyond the woods, Belle struggles with her own burden of beauty and brains in her provincial hometown.  On top of that, the village hunk targets her to be his bride.  Just in time for Spring break, Disney's Beauty and the Beast is a fun-filled romantic staycation for the whole family.

 

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Disney's Beauty and the Beast is the extended live version of the beloved cartoon.  Playwright and screenwriter Linda Woolverton has penned both the animated feature film and the stage version.  The witty dialogue is familiar enough to be the cozy re-read of a favorite bedtime story.  Cogsworth utters, 'if it's baroque, don't fix it.'  Adults chuckle.  Kids giggle.  The appeal is ageless.  Along with the old favorite tunes, Be Our Guest and Beauty and the Beast, new songs like If I Can't Love Her and A Change in Me have been added to build character dimension.  The three leads come to life from DVD cartoon to stage human (or beast) animatedly.   Justin Glaser (Beast) has a powerful, commanding singing voice and prowling animalistic presence.   Liz Shivener (Belle) is the adorable heroine standing up to both beasts and a whole village.  A spunky Shivener is a strong singing match for beast and man.  Hilarious in his arrogant athleticism, Nathaniel Hackman (Gaston) is over the top with a physical and vocal performance that makes him truly the envy of the village men!

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Disney's Beauty and the Beast is definitely a family pleaser!  Play vs DVD?  Why spend the money on a ticket to Disney's Beauty and the Beast?   For one, we need to build theatre appreciation in the younger generation.  This show is an easy hook because it's familiar plus it has moments of live visual spectacle.  Be Our Guest pulls out everything but the kitchen sink as forks and plates kick up a frenzy.  Corks pop, streamers explode and Can-Can dancers dazzle!  The Gaston number has fun, synchronized mug clinking.  All performed live which leads to another lesson for kids to learn about a play.  It's not always perfect.  Sometimes, microphones are faulty in a song, props get out of order and spell "G-U-S-E-T," stripping a beast takes longer than expected.  Life isn't a fairytale on a DVD.  Life is more like a fairytale on stage and each performance anything can happen.  At a recent children's theatre outing, a kid in the audience asked, "when are they going to push 'play'?"  Kids, 'play' isn't just a button on the DVD player!  Chicago plays are to be experienced at all ages!  Go to the live theatre and take your kids to Disney's Beauty and the Beast. 

 

BYOT:  Bring Your Own Tiara!

 

If appliance hexed by an enchantress, he would be an I-phone, Dick says the show is "Stockholm Syndrome:  The Musical."

 

WAITING FOR THE SHOW

Stopping en route for a pirouette in the Thompson Center plaza to sing, "I want much more than this provincial life.  I want adventure in the great wide somewhere," we head to Petterino's, 150 N. Dearborn, for a post show nosh.   Once again, my favorite bartender Eddie is missing!  In his place, Cogsworth and Lumiere are tending to the drinks.  Cogsworth is a little beastly for closing time and takes our initial order and disappears without completing it.  Luckily despite the late hour, Lumiere is lit up and delighted to serve.  He goes the extra effort to not only bring a large bowl of flat bread snacks but also wraps them up for me to take home.  Sans the party streamers and Can-Can dancers, he illuminates the Be Our Guest moment and provides the makings for a happy ending.  

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