Tag Archives: Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast, Live in 3D

I saw 3D Theatricals’ production of Beauty and the Beast this weekend and really enjoyed it. It was much better than the stripped-down touring version we saw in 2010. Bigger cast, bigger orchestra, more elaborate costumes and sets, and they didn’t cut any of the songs (including the one I kind of wish they had).

Great performances from the leads. Belle was a little more brassy than I’m used to, but it worked. The scenes with her and Maurice at the beginning had a nice geeky-family-hanging-out feel to them. Gaston’s performance actually reminded me a lot of Captain Hammer.

It was interesting to see how they worked around the lack of an understudy for Lumiere. They said he (and the actor playing Chip) had been delayed by a car accident, which may have been one he was involved in, or may have been the multi-car fatal collision and fire that shut down the 5 freeway for the whole day. They pulled an actor from the ensemble who had never rehearsed the part, and while he knew a lot of it, they still had to work around things like the dance steps in “Be Our Guest.” (Belle stepped in and offered to lead.) The regular actor made it there before act two and stepped back into the role.

Incidentally: Chip is a thankless part. You have to sit inside a cart wearing a giant teacup on your head the entire time you’re on stage. Though I’m impressed at what it takes to play Mrs. Potts: You need to hold one arm up the entire time (or else wear a very unbalanced costume on your shoulder, which I can imagine messing up your back), and push that cart around one-handed, with choreography. I hope directors/costumers are willing to adapt the costume for the actress’ dominant hand.

Anyway, it was a good production, and an interesting live-theater snafu. Sadly, I was the only one flu-less enough to go, and it was the last weekend of a short run. One of these days!

Belle’s Dreams of Adventure

It never occurred to me in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast that Belle was giving up her dreams of adventure in the great wide somewhere to be with the Prince Formerly Known as Beast. She gives them up at the beginning of the story to save her father, but by the end, what’s she done?

  • Joined a society of transformed humans in an enchanted castle.
  • Fought wolves in a snowstorm.
  • Held her own against a ferocious Beast and changed him.
  • Saved her father’s life and freedom, and the life of the Beast.
  • Escaped that poor provincial town (and that boorish, brainless Gaston)

She’s had a big adventure…and now that the prince is human again and she’s cast her lot in with him, she has the resources and freedom to have more.

That’s why I can’t stand “A Change in Me,” the song that was added to the stage musical a few years in. It takes a criticism that I always thought was unfair — that she’s OK with giving up her dreams to be with a guy — and makes it canon.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: Touring Version

Today we drove down into San Diego to see the new touring version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast stage musical. The simpler staging & costumes work (though the castle set from the 1995 Los Angeles production really added a lot to the mood), but the big numbers like “Be Our Guest” do suffer from the smaller cast. And while I don’t really miss the two songs they cut (“No Matter What” and “Maison Des Lunes” were the weakest of the score), I did miss the battle between the townspeople and the enchanted objects…and the new song (OK, not that new, but it wasn’t in the original production) they added, about how happy Belle is to have given up her dreams, is actually creepy. Seriously, did no one think that one through?