“There may be something there that wasn’t there before” at Broadway San Jose March 6th – 11th. For a short, limited engagement Beauty and the Beast will be dazzling the San Jose stage. Winner of the 1994 Tony for best costume design and nominated for eight others, Beauty and the Beast is based on the 1991 animated film from Walt Disney Pictures. Beauty and the Beast has captured the hearts and minds of millions of people around the globe and Broadway San Jose has brought this treasure to the stage.
Beauty and the Beast is the story of a cruel and selfish prince who is transformed into a hideous beast by a magical enchantress who curses him because there is no love in his heart. In order to break the spell he must learn to love and be loved by another in return or he and his servants will remain cursed forever. But who could ever learn to love a beast?
Hodges and Hodges (Nick and Linda) experienced the magic on opening night and are here to report on the beauty and the beastly details.
As someone who has reviewed Beauty and the Beast before Linda, what were you expecting out of this performance?
I try to never go into a show with any preconceptions. I was, however, looking forward to that special kind of magic that comes from a Disney musical. What about you, Nick?
It definitely had a magical quality. Walking into the theatre, the proscenium scrim (set design by Stanley A. Meyer), with its oversized tangle of vines and swirls, drew the audience right into the enchanted world created by Meyer.
The iconic score (musical direction by Carolyn Violi), was moving and beautifully done. It enhanced the opening scene that highlighted the puppet beggar woman and enchantress. Designed by Basil Twist the puppets each took their magical turn setting the stage for what was to come.
And don’t forget the puppet wolves. They were used to great effect in the chase scene with Maurice as well as the fight scene with the Beast. I did think that the fight choreography by Jeff Brooks was a little weak and didn’t have that “umph” that I was looking for.
I thought it was very effective. The last battle between the Beast and Gaston was exhilarating to say the least. Didn’t you like that segment?
Absolutely. I was on The Edge of my seat the whole time for that part. Their timing was impeccable.
Speaking of timing, the dancing in this show (Choreography by Matt West) was breathtaking.
Oh my god. I couldn’t help but think, “This is as good as a Broadway production” It was that good! The ensemble was amazing. Their timing, their characters and interactions did justice to this show. It was just like watching a live version of the movie. The dancers and extras were superb and were a true joy to watch.
The numbers that stood out for me were the cup clinking tavern number “Gaston,” with Logan Denninghoff as Gaston and his knucklehead sidekick Lafou played expertly by Andrew Kruep. Both Denninghoff and Lafou worked seamlessly together.
I know. I could not stop smiling during those numbers! I felt as happy as if I were in Disneyland itself. I especially felt like a kid again during the exuberantly performed showstopper “Be Our Guest” led by Lumiere, played by Michael Haller, as the master of ceremonies.
I don’t think they could have picked a better person for the part. But we mustn’t forget his enchanted friends Cogsworth (James May), Mrs. Potts (Julia Louise Hosack), and Madame de la Grande Bouche (Jen Bechter). They were wonderful. What a great ensemble cast. I loved Hosack’s warm and wistful tones on the title song “Beauty and the Beast” – simply sublime - while May was ideal as the clock.