Michael McEntee To Play The Beast In Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Budd Lake resident Michael McEntee will be playing the title role in Phoenix Productions' upcoming April revival of Beauty and the Beast. This show will take place at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank for a two-weekend run beginning April 29th.

Michael is a well-known member and long time resident of of the Budd Lake community. He attended Mt. Olive High School, where he played the role of the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. He has since performed all over New Jersey, recently playing the title role in Shrek at Plays in the Park in Edison. In addition to his skill in musical theatre, Michael is classically trained and has a degree in Vocal Performance from Rowan University. He was personally trained by renowned opera tenor, Jon Garrison, and has sung in Italian, French, German and Russian. "Michael is a powerhouse of a performer ," says Phoenix performer Victoria Keiser. "His passion for his work resonates in each role he holds, and that's what makes him an incredible actor."

He is also a familiar friend to the Phoenix family, as Beauty and the Beast marks his third Phoenix show. He was last seen as Che in Evita, and made his Phoenix debut as Sir Lancelot in Spamalot, two incredibly contrasting roles. "The Lancelot track was more focused on extreme character work via multiple costume changes," Michael explains on tackling two very different roles. "Che was focused on being a solely intense character complete with insane and wonderful music to perform." In Beauty and the Beast, Michael plays the Beast, Disney's hot-tempered and gruff Disney prince transformed into a terrifying beast. As the classic "tale as old as time" goes, Michael explains that his character is a "Prince who grew up spoiled and unkind. After turning a beggar (an enchantress in disguise) away on a cold night he is cursed and transformed into a beast until he finds somebody to truly love and earn her love in return." The Beast's hard and commanding exterior, however, hides a warm and loving heart and a teenage prince that never truly grew up. "The main thing about the Beast that people don't realize is that under all the fur and teeth there is a human being," Michael explains. "He spent his entire adolescence as this thing, losing more and more hope as time goes on, and his genuine despair that he may never be human."

Michael is playing the Beast shortly after the live-action movie was released, leaving audiences invested in this classic tale and this character learning to love again. Michael is excited for a big audience turnout, but has no plans of letting either movie influence his work and interpretation of the character. says, "You have to be subtle. He's got to catch the audience in the gut, that this man has been twisted so long that he may just end it all if he doesn't find love." This isn't Michael's first time tackling the role, however, as he played the Beast 9 years earlier in high school.

This classic story of everlasting love tells of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town who doesn't quite fit in, and the Beast, an arrogant young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will cease,and he will be transformed into his former self -- however, if time runs out, his castle and everyone inside will be doomed for all eternity. This "tale as old as time" offers a great opportunity to bring your entire community together for family theatre at its best!

Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature and nominated for nine Tony Awards, Disney's Beauty and the Beast includes all of the wonderful songs written by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman ("Be Our Guest", "Beauty and the Beast") , along with new songs by Mr. Menken and Tim Rice ("Home", "If I Can't Love Her", and "A Change in Me" being just a few).

Phoenix's revival of the Disney musical premieres shortly following the success of the movie, bringing the story to life on the Count Basie stage, with sets, costumes, and a live orchestra. Performances of Beauty and the Beast will begin the final weekend of April with a Saturday, April 29th evening show at 7pm and Sunday matinee at 3pm. The second weekend will have performances Friday, May 5th at 8pm, a two-show day Saturday May 6th with a 2pm matinee and 7pm evening show, with its run concluding on Sunday May 7th with a 3pm matinee. Tickets are available at the Count Basie Theatre Box Office and can be purchased in person at 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, N.J, by phone at 732-842-9000, or online at www.countbasietheatre.org .

Phoenix Productions is a non-profit community theatre organization that has produced more than a hundred full-scale revivals of Broadway musicals since 1988. For more information on Phoenix Productions or upcoming shows, please visit www.phoenixredbank.com).

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