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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: White Christmas Illuminates The Stage With Color And Joy At Fair Park

Though we may not be wishing for a “white” Christmas this year after the Icepocalypse weekend,  Dallas Summer Musicals has brought snow to Dallas in a safe and fun way for the entire family to enjoy.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is a holiday classic, and if you have seen the film, the stage adaptation follows the same storyline.  The story of two showbiz buddies, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, as they team up in business and romance with a sister act to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general.

The musical showcases a slew of talented performers.  Featuring James Clow as “Bob Wallace,” David Elder as “Phil Davis,” Trista Moldovan as “Betty Haynes” and Meredith Patterson as “Judy Haynes.”  All four are no strangers to the theater, having done numerous Broadway shows.  Each principal character brought a stand out factor to their performances.  Davis and Patterson bring constant laughs with their hilarious tumultuous relationship.  They also kill it in one of the best tap dancing performances I have ever seen at the top of the second act.  But, I will come back to that in a moment.  Moldovan gives jaw dropping power ballad solos that will leave you in awe.  Clow not only has an amazing singing voice, but he also has an incredible speaking voice that makes you feel as if you have traveled back to 1954.  Also appearing in the play is Ruth Williamson as “Martha Watson,” Joseph Costa as “General Waverly,” and the unbelievably too young to be that talented, 9 year-old Shannon Harrington as “Susan Waverly.”  This is Harrington’s second year in a row playing Susan for the national Broadway tour.  I can only imagine where this kid will be at age 16, but something tells me a Tony Award could be involved.

The production of the play was phenomenal.  Director, Norb Joerder deserves enormous praise, as does his entire cast and crew, for the dazzling set design and the quick background changes as each scene passed.  I’m still amazed by how many different set designs Anna Louizos produced, and by how well crafted they were.  Speaking of quick changes, I wish I had counted how many costume changes there were, but I would have lost track.   Costume designer, Carrie Robbins, might just be the scene stealer of the whole show with her numerous eye-widening outfits.   Designed with a variety of color and different styles from short shorts to winter evening wear.  It was like a 1950’s mini fashion show; you can’t wait to see what they will be wearing next!

The musical moves quickly, and at the beginning of Act II the time will really fly.  It starts with my favorite scene out of the show, an impressive tap dance number led by Phil and Judy along with the Chorus. Truly breath-taking choreography.

White Christmas is the perfect show to take your family to during this Christmas break.  There’s laughter, there’s love, there’s music, and best of all there’s snow!

WHITE CHRISTMAS THE MUSICAL is performing at Dallas Summer Musicals at the Music Hall at Fair Park thru December 29th.

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com