Review Roundup: What Did The Critics Think of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST At The Hollywood Bowl?
This weekend Beauty and the Beast took The Hollywood Bowl by storm when an all-star cast featuring Zooey Deschanel (Belle), Taye Diggs (Gaston), Rebel Wilson (LaFou), Jane Krakowski (Mrs. Potts), Anthony Evans (Beast), and Kelsey Grammer (Lumiere) performed songs from the film in concert.
Beauty and the Beast on stage has been seen by more than 35 million people worldwide in 13 countries. Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature, the stage version includes all of the wonderful songs written by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, along with new songs by Mr. Menken and Tim Rice. The original Broadway production ran for over thirteen years and was nominated for nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
The classic story tells of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young 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 the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Chris Willman, Variety: Most of the rest of the casting was more on the nose. For Lumiere, you could hardly find anyone who combines buttoned-up and boisterous - and with an agreeably haughty accent - better than Grammer. Krakowski makes for a slightly slinkier Mrs. Potts than Angela Lansbury might have had us imagining, but she resisted any temptation to go all "Nine" on us in the role, only running her hands down the sides of her white dress once. Ending her rendition of the title song with the number's traditional spoken-word asides to young Chip, Krakowski's British accent was endearingly maternal enough that you wished the show could find a way to have the actors do all the dialogue as well as singing, technically challenging as that synch might be.
Gil Kaan, BroadwayWorld: Zooey Deschanel made for a perfect Belle with her innocence, vulnerability and her striking vocals. Wish she had much more to sing. But her sharp comedic chops played right into the townsfolks' description of Belle "that girl is so peculiar." Kelsey Grammer IS Lumiere, the perfect fit for the affable, welcoming candlestick host singing "Be Our Guest," the first act closer.
Todd Martens, LA Times: A trickier role fell to Anthony Evans, who as Beast had to use song to illustrate that there's a decent human hidden inside. Though Beast only has a few lines to sing in the animated film during the excited and inquisitive "Something There," in which Belle and Beast attempt to sort out their confusion at their budding crush, the Bowl show resurrected "Evermore" by Menken and Tim Rice, from last year's film.