Edge

Be Their Guest

You never get too old for fairytales. That may be the lesson every audience member leaves with after watching the new-to-South-Florida musical version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

The non-profit Actors’ Playhouse bought the rights to Disney’s theater adaptation of its movie and then cast, directed, and made everything from the storybook set to the elaborate costumes in Coral Gables for its 10th anniversary season. The show, which still runs on Broadway, will be on for seven weeks at the Miracle Theatre.

Movie fans will be glad to know that the musical remains faithful to the 1991 Oscar-nominated film – down to such memorable enchanted household characters like Cogsworth (Terrell Hardcastle), Mrs. Potts (Lourelene Snedeker) and Lumiere (Bill Perlach) that sing and dance on “Be Our Guest” – only straying so far as to add a handful of new musical numbers. Theater fans will find that high-caliber musical theater performances are but a short drive from campus away.

With the possible exception of Lumiere’s off-and-on French accent, the strong acting throughout the musical often adds depth to stereotypical cartoon characters. Actor Tally Sessions portrays the pain of the Beast as he evolves from growling and hunching over on all fours to speaking eloquently and standing upright, even though in the beginning of the first act it’s frustrating not to see much of his face or costume, and his echoing voice and roars can get a bit too wild.

One of the best performances is given by the charismatic Lefou (David Perez-Ribada),Gaston’s sycophantic sidekick, who steals the show with his humorous slapstick and impressive dancing and singing abilities (at one point, he belts out singing while lying down). The arm-flexing, Elvis-like Gaston (Robert Rokicki) also provides repeated comic relief with his dead-on portrayal of the sexist, egocentric antagonist that vies for the heart of the sweet, eager Belle (Gwen Hollander).

Lefou and Gaston contribute in large part to one of the show’s best musical numbers, “Gaston,” where en eye-pleasing use of levels, acrobatics and a Stomp-like rhythm with beer jugs create an energetic scene. A weaker number, however, is “Human Again,” where the household characters somewhat crowd the stage.

The live orchestra, special effects and (if somewhat dark at times) lighting, together with some adult jokes (“The perfect pair, rather like my thighs!” exclaims Gaston) and appealing chemistry among cast members, make up for an enjoyable theater outing. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will leave you smiling, and the tunes will be playing over in your head long after you’ve left Miracle Mile.

Patricia Mazzei can be contacted at p.mazzei@umiami.edu.

November 23, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Is there an apt comparison for this year’s American League Championship series between the Boston Re ...

If the University of Miami defense isn’t boiling with frustration by now, it must be simmering in an ...

Miami Hurricanes redshirt senior Gerald Willis was the lone UM football player chosen for the Associ ...

A new batch of evidence presented Monday at the college basketball trial in New York seems to furthe ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt apparently is a fan of President Teddy Roosevelt’s — or at leas ...

Fareed Zakaria, a CNN host, journalist and author, tells UM students that globalization and technolo ...

The program, in which UM students mentor high school students, aims to get first generation students ...

Dr. Ralph Sacco, a top neurologist and researcher at the University of Miami Miller School of Medici ...

U.S. Congresswoman and Chairman Emerita of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ileana Ros-Lehtine ...

Nearly 400 students participate in the National Gandhi Day of Service, the largest annual service da ...

The Miami Hurricanes volleyball team improved to 10-5, 6-2 in the ACC, with a 3-0 sweep of Boston Co ...

The Miami women's tennis team closed the Bedford Cup with a perfect day, winning each match in ...

"In The Pool" is a series highlighting the University of Miami swimming & diving stude ...

Playing in front of a boisterous home crowd, the University of Miami soccer team earned a, 1-1, draw ...

The Hurricanes fell in their ACC road opener to the Virginia Cavaliers. ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.