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Video Exclusive: Get a Behind the Scenes Look at Olney Theatre Center's Remount of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

For decades, Disney and its Beauty and the Beast have defined "beauty" for children all over the world. This production celebrates "beauty" in all its forms.

Olney Theatre Center's remount of its 2021 hit Disney's Beauty and the Beast runs through January 1, 2023, on the Mainstage. Jade Jones and Evan Ruggiero, who attracted national attention last year for their stereotype-busting performances in the lead roles, also return to star as Belle and the Beast.

Get a behind the scenes look at the remount below!

In the year since the production closed early because of the Delta surge, the cultural discourse has continued to explore how we can expand our notions of "beauty" and "ability" on stage and screen. Further acknowledgment of the importance of the Olney production came during the Disney 25th Anniversary Reunion for the cast of the 1997 Cinderella which featured a segment on Jade Jones's performance as Belle as an inheritor of that groundbreaking special starring Brandy and Whitney Houston. The production directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, gets another opportunity to inspire new audiences during its encore run.

Tickets are available to the public from $42 - $99 and can be purchased at olneytheatre.org or by calling the box office at 301-924-3400.

"This magical production had a nationally-recognized impact on the thousands of kids and adults who saw it last year," said Olney Theatre Artistic Director Jason Loewith. "But thousands more lost their chance due to December's COVID wave, so we're bringing it back... and it'll be even better than before. Jade Jones and Evan Ruggiero return to prove, powerfully and proudly, that every one of us is beautiful."

Jade Jones, a self-described plus-sized, queer black woman who received two Helen Hayes Award nominations for her performances in School Girls, or the African Mean Girls Play (Round House Theatre) and Into the Woods (Ford's Theatre), will return to the iconic role of Belle. Evan Ruggiero, who continued to pursue a dancing career after losing a leg to cancer as a teenager and has gone on to become a Drama Desk-nominated performer and the self-proclaimed "Lord Pegleg," will once more co-star as the Beast.

Joining the cast for this iteration are Kelli Blackwell (A.D. 16) as Mrs. Potts, multiple Helen Hayes Award-winner Tracy Lynn Olivera (Roald Dahl's Matilda: The Musical) as Madame de la Grande Bouche, and Ariana Caldwell (Constellation's Once On This Island) as Chip.

Olney Theatre's Beauty and the Beast will also feature returning cast members Michael Burrell as Gaston, Bobby Smith (Elf) as Lumiere, Dylan Arredondo (National Players Alumnus) as Cogsworth, John Sygar (Once) as Lefou, Sasha Olinick as Maurice, and Hailey Ibberson as Babette. The ensemble includes Conor James Reilly, Miya Hamashige, Ariel Messeca, Michael Wood, Selena Clyne-Galindo, Erica Leigh Hansen, Tyler White, and Megan Tatum; with Shiloh Orr and Graciela Rey as swings.

For decades, Disney and its Beauty and the Beast have defined "beauty" for children all over the world. Marcia Milgrom Dodge's production celebrates "beauty" in all its forms. Milgrom Dodge has a long track record of "smuggling in" a deeper meaning to classic stories and uncovering the burning, contemporary truths beneath them. She explained in 2021, "Our production celebrates community, authenticity, acceptance, and kindness; and with the help of a few magic spells, provides a thoroughly inclusive 'Happily Ever After.'"

Nominated for a Tony Award for her 2009 Broadway revival of Ragtime, Milgrom Dodge's work has been seen throughout the United States, in Canada, England, Asia, Denmark, and the Middle East, in theatres both on Broadway and Off-Broadway. It has also been featured at acclaimed regional theatres such as the New York City Opera, the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Goodman Theatre, and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Her work has won Helen Hayes, Carbonell, Los Angeles Drama Critics, Backstage Garland, Dora Mavor, New York Outer Critics Circle, and Daytime Emmy Awards. She has also been nominated for Tony, Drama Desk, Astaire, Drama League, Barrymore, and Edgar Awards. She is an executive board member of the Stage Directors & Choreographers Society and a published and produced playwright. Dodge is also a featured director on the new Disney+ reality show, Encore!

Choreographer Josh Walden reunites with Milgrom Dodge after serving as Associate Director/Choreographer on the 2009 revival of Ragtime. He has choreographed an episode of Encore! on Disney+, as well as various productions at the Kennedy Center, Drury Lane Theatre, Signature Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the Tisch School of the Arts. Walden's Director/Choreographer credits include A Chorus Line (Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, and Theatre Memphis), Legally Blonde (Merry-Go-Round Playhouse), On the Town (Capital City Theatre), and the rock opera Fallen Angel, which won Best Musical at the International Fringe Festival. As a performer, Walden has been seen in the Broadway revivals of 42nd Street, La Cage aux Folles, A Chorus Line, and Ragtime. His dance company, Josh Walden Dance Theatre, received an honorable mention for Direction and Choreography at the New York Musical Theatre Festival for its production of All Is Love.

Award-winning music director Walter "Bobby" McCoy currently works with young artists as a faculty member with both Adventure Theatre MTC and Levine Music School. His music direction credits include The Wild Party at Constellation Theatre Company, Caroline, or Change and Once On This Island at Creative Cauldron, A Christmas Story, My Fair Lady, and Mame at Riverside Center for the Performing Arts, and American Idiot and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Little Butterfly Theatre. McCoy earned a Helen Hayes Award in 2017 for his music direction of In the Heights at GALA Hispanic Theatre, as well as a nomination for his work on Old Wicked Songs at 1st Stage in 2015

The production showcases fight choreography by Robb Hunter, scenic design by Narelle Sissons, costume design by Ivania Stack, wig design by Ali Pohanka, lighting design by Colin K. Bills, and sound design by Matt Rowe. John Keith Hall will return as Stage Manager

Olney Theatre's Community Engagement Department will be running several events in support of Beauty and the Beast, including a backstage tour, a Disney trivia night, and an art workshop for kids to draw their own characters.

PERFORMANCE DETAILS

Disney's Beauty and the Beast

Music by Alan Menken

Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice

Book by Linda Woolverton

Directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge

Music Direction by Walter "Bobby" McCoy

Choreography by Josh Walden

November 9, 2022 - January 1, 2023

Tickets: $42-$99 available at olneytheatre.org and 301-924-3400

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