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BWW Review: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Gooseberry Park PLayers


Gooseberry Park Players Presents Beauty and the Beast!

BWW Review: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Gooseberry Park PLayers

A tale as old as time... The favorite Disney classic makes it way to the stage at Horizon Middle School in Moorhead courtesy of GPP. This show originally planned for summer 2020, but we all know what happened in 2020.

For the kids in the cast I am sure it was worth the wait and for many of them there has been little to no theatre for almost 2 years. Artistic Director Ryan Scoble admits he is obsessed with Disney and has been since he was a kid so this must be a dream show for him.

The set was wonderful with many moving pieces so a big shout out on the scenic design to David Wilhelmi. Katy Niemeyer, who served as Costume and Hair & Makeup Designer, beautifully did all the costumes. Of course, with a big stage musical we have to be sure to mention the dance numbers all wonderfully choreographed by Colby Schwartzwalter.

Before I get into the individual performances, I have to mention a small hiccup towards the end of the show that actually turned into a memorable moment for everyone involved and in attendance. During the transformation scene, due to the use of a smoke machine, the fire alarms went off and we were all forced to evacuate the building (due to state laws). I, like many others, assumed this was the end of the show but the cast instead all gathered in the parking lot and did the finale song and their final bows, to massive applause I might add. This was actually a beautiful moment that shows the power of theatre. Great job to everyone involved. If you look on the GPP Facebook Page, you can see video of this moment.

Ingrid Rygg as Bell was so good. She has a beautiful and powerful voice. She had great stage presence and had some great scenes with Maurice (Luke Teske), Gaston (Ben Diers) and Beast (Charlie Maki). Additionally her scenes with all of the characters in the castle were so much fun! I think a few of her best songs in the show were Belle, Something There and A Change in Me; she hits some amazing notes on this one.

Charlie Maki as Beast was a great casting choice. I have watched Charlie grow as an artist over the years and it is great every time I see him on stage. Charlie gets to show off his great singing voice on numerous songs. Some of my favorites were How Long Must This Go On, If I Can't Love Her and of course Something There.

Ben Diers as Gaston was hilarious. He played the conceded and full of himself Gaston perfectly. I recently saw Ben as Uncle Fester in the Fargo Davies production of The Addams Family. Each scene he had with Lefou (Nikolas Dahmen) was so entertaining. The two played off each other so well. He was great on the songs Me and Gaston.

Nikolas Dahmen, as mentioned above, as Lefou was such a fun character. Nikolas has so much energy and used every bit of it to bring this character to life. His mannerisms and facial expressions were spot on.

Luke Teske was very good as the crazy inventor Maurice. He had some great scenes with Belle and did a great job on No Matter What with Ingrid. Slayde Stautz played the evil Monsieur D'Arque very well and did a great job on Masion Des Lunes.

The characters from the Castle were wonderful. Each one brought their character to life in their own special way. Sam Kain as Cogsworth and Marcus Hart as Lumiere stole every scene they were in together. These two had such great chemistry together on stage. Elizabeth Wilhelmi played Mrs. Potts beautifully and her rendition of Beauty And The Beast was one of the best of the show. Nathan Krogen played the young chip wonderfully. Olivia Jahner as Babbette and Abby Becher as Madame de la Grande Bouche were perfectly cast. Olivia plays the flirtatious Babbette with perfection and Abby as the over the top wardrobe has some great scenes as well. All of these characters do a beautiful job on Be Our Guest and Human Again.

Congrats, to the entire cast and crew on this production.

Please be sure to check out the podcast Stage Notes to hear myself and Jason Diers talk about this show! You can hear Stage Notes with Brian Michaels on your favorite app or click the link below.


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