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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST to be Presented At The Players Theatre

"Beauty and the Beast" February 26th through April 10th on Saturday's at 3pm and 7pm and Sunday's at 11am and 2pm.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST to be Presented At The Players Theatre

Girl Power is a centuries old quest. Bring the whole family out to The Players Theatre this February through April for a different musical adaptation of Beauty and the Beast than you've previously seen on stage or screen. Featuring a Beauty with grit, explore with her a need for adventure and learn with her what finding true love really is all about.

This original musical adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast", inspired by the 1740 French Novella, and decidedly not Disney, has been revived at The Players Theatre, and located at 115 MacDougal Street (between West 3rd and Bleeker) in the West Village. The production features a live chamber ensemble with music by Michael Sgouros and book and lyrics by Brenda Bell.

Largely based on the original book by Marie Beaumont, which was written in 1756, this version finds the title character, Beauty (Emily Sharick), to be a surprising heroine. Unlike most fairytale damsels, she is not waiting to be rescued by a prince charming. In fact, if there is rescuing to be done, Beauty will be doing it. But she is far from flawless, indeed she makes a number of mistakes, but as a true heroine, she always learns from her blunders.

Parents will identify with the poignant relationship between Beauty and her father (Devon Turchan), especially when Beauty asks him difficult queries such as "How will I know when I am truly in love?" And is there a family where there isn't a bit of sibling rivalry? Beauty's devious sisters and overzealous brother, Chance (James Brautigam) add a special kind of humor in numbers like "Unbelievable" where sister's Norma (Raina Silver) and Louise (Elise Ramaekers) plot against our heroine.

In order to settle a debt for her father, Beauty, seeking a chance to live life instead of just reading about it, agrees to take her fathers place and live in the Beast's castle. Here she not only finds adventure and love, but she also finds herself. The Beast (Eric Fletcher), who has been under the spell of an evil fairy, has been trapped in his castle and his animal-like appearance for many years. Here in this magnificent palace, he tends to a mysterious garden filled with brilliant roses. The castle we soon learn is as magical as it is beautiful. Statues, elegantly portrayed by Kelsey Bentz, Austin Boatwright and Michaela Winter, come to life and exquisite meals mysteriously appear with the help of a nymph-like good fairy and her Child Spirit sidekick (Brenda Bell and Avery Ilardi).

This production also includes little-known dream sequences from an earlier French novella by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. "After much research I was fortunate enough to find an English translation of the novella written in 1740. I had heard that Beaumont was inspired by this story. I found the details of Beauty's dreams fascinating; they lend such a rich texture to the story". The decision was made to create a Beast and a Prince for the production. The Prince (Zaq Latino) calls to Beauty in her sleep allowing the audience to enter into a surreal dream-world that reveals Beauty's hidden desires as well as her apprehensions. The set designed by Elizabeth Chaney, costumes by Courtney Hansen and lighting by Jessica Choi pull the audience into a magical and mysterious world.

"We didn't shy away from the darker side of the story" noted composer, Michael Sgouros. The rich tones of the Cello coupled with over 30 percussion instruments, played in full view of the audience, allowed us to create music that sets the mood for this beautiful yet emotional story. Not to worry thought, there are plenty of upbeat numbers and of course, as Beauty says in the end "there really is such a thing as happily ever after!"

In addition to the full 70-minute musical production; families can come an hour early to take part in a pre-show adventure workshop. Here the children meet members of the production team and learn about the music as well as the original story and how it was made into a musical. The actor playing the Beast explains that the he really isn't scary; even though he is wearing a mask, he is still the same on the inside. Then everyone gets to make a mask of their own to take home with them.

Literally Alive is a New York City based family theatre company that produces original musicals based on classic children's literature. Now in its 22nd season, the company has taken residence at The Players Theatre and continues to produce original productions in repertory each year.

"Beauty and the Beast" February 26th through April 10th on Saturday's at 3pm and 7pm and Sunday's at 11am and 2pm. The Players Theatre is located at 115 MacDougal Street (between Bleecker and West 3rd). Tickets are $42-$62 and can be purchased at: By calling 1-866-811-4111 or at the box office which opens daily at 11a.

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