Cast Set for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

The production runs July 14–August 20, 2023.

By: Jun. 07, 2023
Cast Set for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Chicago Shakespeare Theater has revealed the cast and creative team for the upcoming 75-minute family musical production Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, directed and choreographed by Amber Mak. Dazzling production numbers, including the title song and the showstopping "Be Our Guest," will fill the Courtyard Theater, introducing young audiences to the magic of live theater. The company features Emily Ann Brooks, Jason Michael Evans, Tim Foszcz, Audrey Hare, Christopher Kale Jones, James Earl Jones II, Michael Kingston, Sam Linda, Maggie Malaney, Harriet Nzinga Plumpp, Maya Rowe, David Sajewich, Maxel Schingen, Cassie Slater, and Aalon Smith. The production runs July 14–August 20, 2023, with performances on Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m., Thursdays-Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. After each performance, audiences have the opportunity to meet costumed members of the cast in the lobby for conversation, autographs, and photos.

With beloved music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and a book by Linda Woolverton, this 75-minute version of the Academy Award-winning film and Tony Award-winning stage musical promises to be the perfect outing for audiences of all ages at Chicago Shakespeare’s home on Navy Pier. Filled with lovable characters and imaginative settings, this enduring fairy tale recounts the story of Belle, a spirited young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end, and he will be transformed into his former self. But time is running out. If those lessons aren’t learned soon, the Beast and his household will be doomed for all eternity.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is directed and choreographed by Amber Mak, one of Chicago’s most sought-after musical theater directors. Mak’s Chicago Shakespeare credits include directing and choreographing the 75-minute Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure in 2017 and choreographing the American premiere of Nell Gwynn. She has directed frequently at Drury Lane, Marriott Theatre, where she is currently helming Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, and Paramount Theatre, where her many credits include The Sound of Music, Rock of Ages, Hairspray, The Wizard of Oz (for which she received a Jeff Award nomination for Best Director), Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and choreographing the world premiere, The Secret of My Success.

Taking on the titular roles are Aurora native Audrey Hare as Belle and Jason Michael Evans as the Beast. Portraying the bewitched inhabitants of the Beast’s castle are Christopher Kale Jones as Lumiere, James Earl Jones II as Cogsworth, Harriet Nzinga Plumpp as Madame de la Grande Bouche, Maya Rowe as Babette, and Cassie Slater as Mrs. Potts. David Sajewich plays the self-absorbed Gaston, with Sam Linda as his bumbling sidekick Le Fou, and Michael Kingston plays Belle’s father Maurice. Also in the cast are Emily Ann Brooks, Maggie Malaney, and Aalon Smith as Les Filles de la Ville, Tim Foszcz as Monsieur D'Arque, and Maxel Schingen in the Ensemble. Understudies include Halle Bins, Sadie Fridley, and Nathan Karnik.

In addition to Mak, the production’s creative team includes Music Director Charlotte Rivard-Hoster, Scenic Designer Jeffrey D. Kmiec, Costume Designer Theresa Ham, Lighting Designer Jason Lynch, Sound Designer Sarah Ramos, Projection Designer Mike Tutaj, Fight and Intimacy Director Maya Vinice Prentiss, Dialect Coach Susan Gosdick, Orchestrator and Assistant Music Director Heidi Joosten, Assistant Director and Choreographer Nich O’Neil, Beast Wig and Make-up Designer and Creator Katie Cordts, Associate Scenic Designer Milo Bue, Assistant Lighting Designer Andrei Borges, Production Stage Manager Mary Zanger, and Assistant Stage Manager Drew Donnelly.

This production marks the return of the Theater’s summer family musical. For multi-generational family audiences, Chicago Shakespeare Theater offers a theatergoing experience of the highest quality, introducing live performance to young hearts and minds. The Theater has engaged hundreds of thousands of young people over the years through musicals in the summer, abridged productions of Shakespeare plays, and Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks performances in partnership with neighborhood arts organizations across the city.

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