Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is as much loved today as when the movie was originally released back in 1991. The tale of a bookish young woman, her inventor father Maurice, the town meathead Gaston, a ghastly Beast and a house full off enchanted objects is playing at Minneapolis’ Orpheum Theatre this week.
As Belle Jullian Butterfield, does a fantastic job as bookish young girl who befriends the Beast and wards off Gaston’s affections. Tony D’Alelio as Lefou, Gaston’s bumbling sidekick. His physical comedy skills are marvelous. Cameron Bond is meat-head Gaston, who only has his eyes set on Belle. The comedy timing with Tony D’Alelio as Lefou is genius. Then here is Ryan Everett Wood as the Beast. His range in this role is unlimited. He transitions effortlessly from ghastly beast to mild manner guy with a crush and back again. The scenes in which he is trying to win Belles affections are heartwarming.
There was the show stopping number you’d expect from a Disney musical like “Be Our Guest” but other numbers fell flat. But even with leads who individually shine, there isn’t a cohesive chemistry to carry this show. With the Disney name attached to this production I was expecting a more polished show. The opening night performance was plagued by sound issues, a possible lighting issue (I don’t think “The Mob Song” was intended to be sung in almost complete darkness) and what felt like very long blackouts for scene transitions.
Overall, I would see this production again. The story, laughs, sight gags and songs are what keep you engaged. Perhaps the issues I experienced on Opening Night have been ironed out and the show is now running to the Disney caliber.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is playing at Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis through Sunday, March 15. For more information on the show visit their website.