Review: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at the Orpheum Theatre (***)

by Charles Kruger

After 15,000 performances by various companies in more than 120 cities and 21 countries, Disney’s “Beauty and The Beast” retains the power to enchant.

Brook Quintana as Beauty and Sam Hartley as Beast in "Beauty and the Beast" at the Orpheum. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy.
Brook Quintana as Beauty and Sam Hartley as Beast in “Beauty and the Beast” at the Orpheum. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy.

The children in attendance on opening night of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at the Orpheum Theatre appeared to be delighted, and the adults sufficiently amused by an enthusiastic company of young performers, many of them embarked on their first national tour.

A rousing and charmingly choreographed rendition of the show-stopping “Be Our Guest,” horrifyingly convincing wolf puppets, and a refreshingly tart performance by Brooke Quintana as the Beauty, Belle, are highlights of this mostly pedestrian touring production.

Christian Smith-Kotlarek is a humorously self-centered Gaston with a strikingly good singing voice. Samuel Shurtleff’s pompous Cogsworth provokes much laughter. All of the company pitch performances appropriately to a young child’s level of understanding.

Among the ensemble, Mike Baskowski offered much delight in his athletic performance as an enchanted acrobatic carpet in the “Be Our Guest” number.

The final transformation of the Beast into a Prince is as magical as one could ask for, involving a convincing levitation and transformation designed by illusionist Jim Steinmeyer.

Adult fans who adore the film will enjoy themselves, and it should serve as a fine introduction to professional theatre for young children.

“Beauty and the Beast” plays at the Orpheum Theatre through July 10th. For further information, click here

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Rating: ***
(For an explanation of TheatreStorm’s rating scale, click here.
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“Beauty and the Beast,” music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, book by Louis Woolverton. Produced by NETWorks Presentations (originally produced by Disney Theatrical Productions). Director: Rob Roth. Choreographer: Matt West. Musical Director/Conductor: Kevin Francis Finn. Scenic Design: Stanley A. Meyer. Costume Design: Ann Hould-Ward. Lighting Design: Natasha Katz. Sound Design: John Petrafesa, Jr. Hair Design: David H. Lawrence. Fight Direction: Rick Sordelet. Illusion Design: Jim Steinmeyer. Puppet Design: Basil Twist. 

Cast:

Belle: Brooke Quintana. Beast: Sam Hartley. Gaston: Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek. Lefou: Matt Dasilva. Mrs. Potts: Stephanie Gray. Lumiere: Ryan N. Phillips. Cogsworth: Samuel Shurtleff. Babette: Melissa Jones. Maurice: Thomas Mothershed. Madame de la Grande Bouche: Stephanie Harter Gilmore. Chip: Deandre Horner/Jake Jones. Monsieur d’Arque: Danny Burgos. Young Prince: Mike Baskowski. Carpet: Mike Baskowski. Silly Girls: Jeanette Palmer, Colleen Roberts, Sarah Shelton. Townspeople/Enchanged Objects: Kari Baker, Mike Baskowski, Dann Burgos, Ben Cullen, Mary Beth Donahoe, David G rindrod, Lance E. Hayes, Kyle Huey, Hannah Jewel Kohn, Lacey Kriston, Kevin Kulp, Jennie McGuinness, Jeanette Palmer, Colleen Roberts, Sarah Shelton, Micah Wallace. Voice of Prologue Narrator: Hassan Nazari-Robati. 

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