Beauty and the Beast
March 11, 2011
I was able to purchase a ticket for opening night of Beauty and the Beast through Goldstar, which made me happy because it's one of my favorite musicals, and I didn't want to have to pay full price. Thanks, Goldstar! On my way to the event, I was stuck in traffic, listening to radio broadcasts of two basketball games wherein the team I rooted for was losing. Not good. It was so bad that I thought that I'd be late for the show and would be too late to pick up the tickets at Will Call. Thank goodness that didn't happen, though.
My first experience seeing BatB was at the Shubert Theatre in Century City in 1995, which featured much of the original Broadway cast, including Susan Egan as Belle, Terrence Mann as Beast, and Tom Bosley as Maurice. I fell in love with the show that night, and I think that the first time that I cried during the show was not very far into it (probably during "Home", and my brother quietly said to me, "Stop it." But you know that I couldn't. It was a beautiful production, and I got tickets for my best friend's birthday so that I could go with her and see it again the next year. The production was incredible, and was so popular that it became the longest-running show in that theatre.
So, as you can guess, every other production of this show has quite a lot to live up to in my eyes. This is why I didn't get tickets right away and only went to this one because of the discount. So, knowing all of this background, and the fact that I was darn pissed off about my teams losing, you are forewarned that the mood and bias were influenced those things.
My seat was on the left side aisle, row Z, rear orchestra. A little girl was sitting in front of me, so I had a great view of the stage. This is what is good about seeing family-friendly shows: chances are good that you will be seated behind a child that is shorter than you, and you'll get a good view. :)
- All I could think about the orchestra during the entire show was that there was too much brass, and not enough strings. Yes, I know that this is a touring company, so it's not going to be a full-fledged production. Yes, you'll probably be telling me that to me at more than this point.
- The sets at first made me feel like I was at a college production because my memory is of the extravagance at the Shubert. I did like, however, their use of the scrim during the attack scenes, wherein the wolves were played by puppets, like in The Lion King.
- Belle's voice was not sweet enough for me to be Belle. Not that she needed to be Snow White or Aurora, but it was a little too brassy for me (not like a harlot or anything, but more comedic than lilting).
- Belle was reading a book about "A hunchback who lives in Paris". Hey! She does a cameo in that movie! Nice touch.
- "The Enchantress" (opening) and "Home" were at tempos that were too quick for my taste. I felt like they were rushing through these songs. Since "The Enchantress" gives the whole background for the prince, this annoyed me. Since "Home" is one of my favorite Broadway musical songs EVER, I was so annoyed that I didn't feel the heartache that I usually do during the song. It was played as just another song, and it's really Belle's anthem.
- There were a few lyric changes, which happens a lot during tour productions, but I was surprised that they eliminated the songs "No Matter What" and "Maison des Lunes", and introduced a new song, "A Change In Me". So now we don't really get to see as much of the connection between Belle and Maurice (I really miss Tom Bosley), so Maurice doesn't sing very much, and then the psychiatrist doesn't get to sing at all. Weird. The new song is quite lovely, and Ms. Shivener sang it well, but I kind of wondered why we needed the song if she already had a ballad. But OK. (According to Wikipedia, the song was added to the show in 1998, and Susan Egan has done a recording of it. I need to listen to that).
- Justin Glaser, as Beast, has a beautiful voice, although I wish that I could have heard more of it without the muffle of his costume. Once he transformed, his voice was very clear and gorgeous, and I wished that it wasn't the end of the show so that I could hear him sing more.
- If I can't be cast as Belle, then I want to be a Silly Girl. They were really funny.
- Nathaniel Hackman stole the show for me as Gaston. He really played up his part well, and I giggled every time he was on stage. You see, I *could* be a Silly Girl, because I'd be typecast.
- I thought of the time that my friend Zach and I sang "Me" together, and I smiled through the whole song, not only because I loved Mr. Hackman's portrayal, but because that particular performance memory is one of my favorites in my own career. I miss singing with you, Zach!
- They took the carpet from "Aladdin" and turned it into a welcome mat for "Be Our Guest".
- Belle was given a bib for "Be Our Guest", and what was the design on the bib? Sebastian from "The Little Mermaid", in Conducting Pose. I want that bib. Seriously.
- I'm just glad that they didn't cut my favorite line in "The Mob Song": "Screw your courage to the sticking place". Phew! Their choreography during that song reminds me of that in Les Miserables' "Do You Hear The People Sing", with the walking in place.
- The sound effects were interesting: the roar of the Beast was my favorite effect.
- Lumiere is just a horndog. I guess there's not a lot of movement you can do as a candlestick, except to thrust your hips about.
- Sabina Petra sang "Beauty and the Beast" quite beautifully.
- I still love seeing all of the mug-clinking during "Gaston". Here we go!
- They never actually showed the rose's petals falling. Bummer.
I had a good time during the show, all things considered. The crowd was great, and it seemed like the kid that played Chip got the best roar during the curtain call. I wonder if he's from L.A.
If you've seen the show at the Shubert and loved it, you will not be that impressed. But it's still a great show and families with kids will love it.