BWW Review: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Broadway Palm is Enchantingly Entertaining!
Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre's production of Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, directed and choreographed by Amy Marie McCleary, brings the magic of this classic story to life on stage in a very fun and exciting new way.
Jennie Nasser plays Belle and James Arthur Douglas plays Beast. I've always admired the character of Belle for having wit, determination, and resilience, but I thought Nasser's portrayal of Belle showcased these qualities even more, which I loved. Her voice is incredibly beautiful also; she led this show as Belle very well, and I thoroughly enjoyed her performance. Douglas's performance brought something quite new to Beast, and I thought this was brilliant. The audience gets to see more of the unsure and awkward sides of Beast rather than someone a bit more cold and harsh, and I felt that this really allowed us to feel even more for Beast as the climax of the story begins to take place. He, of course, is an incredibly talented singer as well; Douglas and Nasser made such a perfect pair on stage, and I was delighted by their characterizations.
This entire cast, which also includes (but is definitely not limited to) Drew Stairs as Gaston, Matthew Oster as LeFou, Jerry Sciarrio as Maurice, Frank Hughes as Cogsworth, Travis C. Brown as Lumiere, Sami Doherty as Babette, Shannon Connolly as Mrs. Potts, Shelby Acosta as Madame de la Grande Bouche, and (at my performance) Ashton Heathcoat as Chip, worked together wonderfully. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST has some big group numbers, including "Belle" and "Be Our Guest," and not only did the entire ensemble bring the classic nostalgia of these songs to the stage, but I thought they also went above and beyond with their performances. Their energetic singing, dancing, and acting, along with the chemistry this cast evidently has, results in a perfectly magical show. They each did marvelously at bringing the well-known characters of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST to life. Musical Director Loren Strickland has done a fantastic job in bringing the music and vocal talent of this cast together to create many lovely and special moments of harmony in this production.
Though there are countless wonderful aspects of Broadway Palm's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST that I could talk about, I want to be sure to mention the costumes in this show. Costume Designer John White did an incredible job with this show; they are absolutely beautiful and perfect nods to the classic BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, with just a few minor changes and updates that make them pop.
I would most definitely recommend being Broadway Palm's guest this summer and checking out this fantastic production of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. It is my favorite Disney story, and I thought Broadway Palm did a marvelous job in this telling of it. No matter your age, I guarantee you'll find something in this show that you connect to and enjoy; after all, it is a "tale as old as time" for a reason.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is playing now through August 10 at Broadway Palm. Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $45 to $70 with group prices available. There is a summer special and tickets for anyone 18 and under are just $20 for the meal and the show! Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting BroadwayPalm.com or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.