'Beauty and the Beast' enchants at Orpheum Theater
NETworks’ production of “Beauty and the Beast” enchanted the Orpheum Theatre. For three hours, theatergoers were transported to the world of Disney through song and dance — and it was absolute perfection.
Belle (Jillian Butterfield) and Beast (Ryan Everett Wood) had a palpable dynamic. Butterfield embodied Belle’s brave, book-loving and courageous spirit. Wood added a new side to the giant with humor and gentleness. Together, they brought to life one of Disney’s most quintessential love stories.
The costume design by Ann Hould-Ward, from Beast’s larger-than-life appearance to Belle’s famous yellow gown, magnetized the audience. Choreographer Matt West made each scene captivating.
The self-aggrandizing Gaston (Cameron Bond) shined with “Me” as he showcased flawless vocals with comedic talent. In “The Mob Song” he combined Gaston’s villainess with tenacity in a memorable performance.
Mrs. Potts (Emily Jewell), Lumiere (Patrick Pevehouse) and Cogsworth (Samuel Shurtleff) did not disappoint as the castle’s beloved characters. Chip (Ross Nemeth) — who played the part with pure spunkiness — was an audience favorite, earning him one of the loudest applause of the night.
“Be Our Guest” encapsulated the Disney magic of the show. The high-spirited performance ended with 350 feet of streamers releasing into the audience, which girls dressed up as Belle, every millennial’s favorite Disney princess, happily ran up to retrieve. It was easily the most unforgettable moment of the night.
“Human Again,” which was cut from the original film and later repurposed for the Broadway production, beautifully portrayed the objects’ desire to revert to their previous life. The sentimental song highlighted their undeniable vocal power.
Butterfield’s “A Change in Me” was her most powerful performance of the night. The multitalented star’s falsettos became the focus of the musical. Equally as moving was Beast’s “If I Can’t Love Her,” taking place after the scene in which Belle reads to Beast after he confides in her that he is illiterate. Both solos transformed their relationship.
The final song, “Beauty and the Beast,” was an on-stage celebration that only Disney could pull off. As the cast gathered around Belle and Beast, the emotional finale was pure magic. The classic tale ended with Chip handing the couple the iconic red rose, leaving some adults in the audience teary-eyed.
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