The musical version of the 1991 animated film brought to life the “tale as old as time” and certainly did not stray away from what originally won the hearts of millions of people worldwide.
I grew up during the era of classic Disney movies, and "Beauty and the Beast" was always a personal favorite. As kids my friend and I would dress up and recite scenes from the movie, line by line. Naturally, I invited the same friend to “be my guest” at the Fox Theatre Friday night. Even two decades later, the story is equally enjoyable as an adult and “Beauty and the Beast” has proven to be a timeless tale.
It’s the story of Belle, a young outcast who buries herself in books, longing for life outside of her provincial town. It’s the story of a spoiled prince, living in confinement under a spell as a beast; his only hope to break the spell is learning how to love and be loved in return. When Belle unexpectedly encounters the castle, will she be the one to break the spell, or will the spoiled prince remain a beast forever?
Unsurprisingly, the music is the most lovable element of the show and classic numbers such as “Gaston,” “Little Town” and “Be Our Guest” are the most memorable. Hilary Maiberger’s incredible vocals make her perfect for the role of Belle and Tim Rogan takes Gaston’s comical character to a whole new level.
I did find the costume for Chip (the teacup) to be quite bizarre. Unlike in the original movie, the spell has left Chip trapped in a cupboard, and all we see is the head of the actor until the spell is broken. The Beast also slightly resembles a Red Sox player on Halloween, but other than that, the costumes are spectacular and the set design equally dazzling.
Overall, the production was what you would expect from one of the longest-running shows on Broadway performed at St. Louis’ fabulous Fox Theatre. It is a great experience for both the young and young at heart.