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Archives for : AT&T Performing Arts Center

Theatre Review: “Beauty & the Beast” is a Terrifically Enchanting Musical

Rating: 4.5/5

It’s as true as it can be.  Disney fans will be in bliss as they watch one of the most beloved classics come alive on stage. Beauty & the Beast performed as a Broadway musical may seem like a tough feat with the surely difficult theatrics that the play would need to pull off.  Fortunately, AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Winspear Opera House put on a magical show that the whole family will enjoy.

Beauty & the Beast is one of the most beautiful tales of how the beauty within prevails over any outer appearance.  When Belle (Hilary Maiberger) sacrifices her own freedom in exchange for her fathers, she is forced to stay in an enchanted castle that is run by an angry and bitter Beast (Darick Pead).  To ease her distress, Belle is comforted by the other unusual members of the house who happen to be a candle stick, a clock, and tea pot.   Little does she know that the fate of everyone around her, including the Beast, hinge on whether or not she can fall in love with someone who looks like a monster.

Following the original Disney animated feature, this musical still contains the same script and music, but has added a few originals songs that go along with the familiar score.  The new songs blended in perfectly with the story, but they were no match for the classic soundtrack we all love to sing.  When “Gaston” is performed by the tavern patrons and the well-played arrogant Gaston (Tim Rogan), you might think “it doesn’t get any better than this.”  The musical number is humorous, creatively choreographed, and thoroughly entertaining.  But you have spoken too soon, because you have yet to witness the luminous, breath taking, work of art that is “Be Our Guest.”   The song begins with the voice of Hassan Nazari-Robati, who gives a stand out performance as the hilarious talking candle stick, Lumiere.  Hassan, along with the eloquent Kristin Stewart (not Twilight) who plays Mrs. Potts, lead the rest of the enchanted objects in a colorful dance that is enhanced by the vibrant set design (Stanley A. Meyer) and well produced lighting (Natasha Katz).  I am delighted to know that I will surely dream about dancing plates and silverware tonight.

They could not have cast a more perfect Belle.  Hilary Maiberger is no stranger to playing a Disney princess.  Having played Cinderella and Jasmine in previous musicals, she handled the role of Belle with such ease, and not once did she over act her character.  Her vocals are incredible, best out of the entire cast.  When she sings, goose bumps appear, as well as a smile on your face.  Her leading man played by Darick Pead did a fantastic job as the intimidating, yet sometimes juvenile Beast.

Beauty & the Beast the musical throws in some extra comedic moments that will only add to your laughter, and music that you will want to add to your play list.  I could go on and on about this lively performance, but I’d rather you allow yourself to be a guest and take pleasure in this remarkable “tale as old as time.”

Musical Review: ‘Godspell’ Might have been more Entertaining in the 70’s

The wonderful music sung by these great actors doesn’t ignore the fact that the Winspear Opera House’s production of Godspell felt like it should have been played in an after school special.

I can’t rag on the premise of the musical because it has been a Broadway classic for decades.  Personally a musical interpretation, that feels more like a lesson of the parables from the Gospel of Matthew, just isn’t my cup of tea.  However, the amazing actors who starred in the Dallas production delivered incredible vocals, and filled the stage with energy.  And the stain glass background made for a relevant and beautiful set. Director David Hogan gave audiences a color full set, and made sure his cast worked well with the limited amount of space on stage.  On the other hand the immature dance moves choreographed by Adele Mackenzie are unimpressive and a little cheesy.

What was flawless was the variety of talented voices among the cast.  Lead by the standout voice of the group, Jake Stern, who not only looks like Jesus but gives a sincere performance as him.   This guy easily had the best voice of the cast, who were all vocally gifted.  Stern’s angelic and soulful voice is made for Broadway.  Graham Parhurst did a fantastic job as the antagonist in this play, adding some drama and mixing things up for the incredibly peppy cast.  And the entire cast started off the play right with an engaging, harmonized a cappella opening number.  I just wish the rest of the play could have been that enjoyable.  You don’t feel that kind of interest until the finale.  This musical just felt a little campy, with the overly excited characters and the constant assurance for the audience understanding the messages of each parable.  I really felt like I was watching an educational skit.

Even the current inside jokes made through out the play felt forced and tacky.  Some of the jokes felt outdated. Godspell was not as exciting for some as it may have been for others, but when I saw the people around me walk out of the musical mid Act I, I did feel envious.

Godspell wouldn’t be my first musical choice, but for those who enjoyed any previous performances they had seen before, this show could be a fun and nostalgic experience.

The show will be running at the Winspear Opera House until Sunday March 2nd.

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com