Review Roundup: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at La Mirada; What Did The Critics Think?
La Mirada Theatre For The Performing Arts and McCoy Rigby Entertainmentpresent the fifth and final show of its season, Laurie Veldheeras "Belle" and Todd Adamsonas "The Beast" starring in Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashmanand Tim Rice, book by Linda Woolverton, musical direction by Darryl Archibald, choreography by Robbie Robyand direction by Michael Heitzman. Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST will preview on Friday, May 31, 2019 (with a press opening on Saturday, June 1 at 8 pm) and run through Sunday, June 23, 2019 at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd in La Mirada.
Step into the enchanted world of Broadway's modern classic, Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, an international sensation that continues to amaze and delight with its captivating story of soaring romance, bright humor and thrilling adventure. Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature, the stage version includes all of composer Alan Menken's (The Little Mermaid and Newsies) memorable songs from the film, plus delightful new ones. Nominated for nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, it's a tale as old as time... given a fresh, inventive, lively new production you won't want to miss!
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Elaine Mura, Splash Magazines: The staff does an effective job of bringing the animated tale to life, with special kudos to Todd Adamson for a formidable, powerful voice (and his ability to keep moving inside that huge get-up). But there is yet another star in the BEAUTY/BEAST firmament - and that is the brilliant technology displayed as people/objects mingle and merge. Disney get an A+ for the hidden treasures in this story - including that iconic yellow ball gown which probably weighs more than the slender actress inside. Directed by Michael Heitzman with musical direction by Darryl Archibald, the production is nearly perfect. The scenic design by Front Row Theatrical is flexible and fittingly gloomy or glamorous, and the entire production team does a bang-up job. Let's not forget choreography by Robbie Roby, who turns music into melodic movement. All in all, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST remains a crowd-pleaser.
Dany Margolies, Whittier Daily News: In this age of #metoo, the story feels heavier than perhaps it was meant to. Belle is pursued by the town's egomaniacal bully, Gaston (Matthew Ragas), and we are reminded that in some cultures women are still chattel and could be forced into such a marriage. The plot sends her to the castle of the enchanted prince, now living as the Beast. Todd Adamson's Beast is on the comedic side, lightening the show for the kiddies and making it slightly more tolerable for those of us concerned that this story teaches young girls that they can change a man, simply through the power of "love." Darkness even creeps into the subplots of this tale, notably in how much physical and emotional abuse Gaston's toady, Lefou (Justin Charles Cowden), takes under Gaston's brutalizing punches and insults. Then Gaston perishes toward the end of Act 2. This garnered applause from the audience, though perhaps more for the staging, as Ragas seemed to plunge into the orchestra pit, fortunately avoiding the drum set. But the indisputable highlight here is the choreography, by Robbie Roby. It retains the best elements of Matt West's Broadway original, but, like Gwen Verdon did with Bob Fosse's choreography, Roby makes West's work even better.
Tami Orendain, Disney Examiner: But what stands out about this show is that it makes musical theatre accessible to all. The show is diverse in both its cast and its audience. People of all ages were sitting in the audience together, sharing laughs, admiring the music and crying during the famous "I love you," scene. The theatre also seems to be committed to making this show, and all their shows, accessible. The building is so central to Southern California and is located in an easy-to-find plaza. The show is much more affordable, especially for those who may be interested in bringing their children or friends. Parking is even free! In addition, the theatre is offering American Sign Language-interpreted and open captioned performances as well as behind-the-scenes experiences for all who are interested. The theatre and the show encourage community, bringing people together to experience an excellent re-telling of a favorite Disney movie.