Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Review - Disney's A Beauty and the Beast - A Must See!

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 ...and that's how it all started...a simple touch of the hands (er, paws...oh--you know what I'm trying to say)!

Disney's magical and enchanting fairy tale love story, Beauty and the Beast rolled into my city (Atlanta) this week, playing our historic fabulous Fox Theatre.  To say this production was good would be an understatement.

As a huge Disney fan, I have seen the story of Beauty and the Beast countless times.  Heck, a few months ago, I paid $10 to see the 20th Anniversary theatrical re-release of it, just so I could watch it one more time on the big screen.

All that to say--Although I was sure this was going to be a fun Disney night out, I was also sure it was going to be something I'd seen time and time again.  Imagine my surprise when I realized this was going to be fun and not something I'd seen time and time again.

The play was amazing.  The scenery classic and wonderful.  The performers--right on cue.  I was instantly drawn in, taken to another place, and entertained for a solid three hours (with an one intermission of course).

The story itself is a classic one...discovering love where you least expect it.  Living your provincial life and then, unexpectedly, from a place you didn't expect--there it is.  A gift handed to you, though cleverly cloaked in layers waiting to be opened.  But once the gift is opened, you begin to see all the world differently (as Belle told her Father).  A true and timeless story of finding love.  How do you argue with a plot like that?

Yes, it's a timeless, classic fairy tale.  Something that Disney is known for telling and something they do extraordinarly well.

This touring production of the Broadway hit, Beauty and the Beast, is no exception.  Disney leaves nothing to chance.  Each actor picked is superb and a perfect fit for the role they were chosen for.  Take, for example, Liz Shivener as Belle.

Liz grew up loving the Disney films of her youth, but she was only four when the animated classic was first released, "I loved Belle.  She's my favorite Disney princess because she stands for something...she's a substantial role model because she's a very strong woman, and it's cool to be a part of that."

Liz executes the roll beautifully.  In true fashion, her voices "rings" of Disney Princess talent.  Each song is sung almost exactly like the movie, and you don't feel shorted or out of sync at all.  Superb.  Passed my strict Disney requirements almost immediately.

How is the stage production different from the film?  Well, it's not that different really--it's the same story but with some new and added material.  You will get to see Cogsworth before he was a clock (i.e., before the winding mechanism was added onto his back) and you'll witness a tender scene between Belle and her Father.  There are also a few new songs mixed in, but they won't detach you from the story line of the movie.  Each one is just as delightful as as the orginal score.  (Tim Rice wrote the lyrics to these new songs after Howard Ashman's passing.)

This production has currently played to over 35 million people worldwide in over 21 countries and will be at the Atlanta Fox Theatre through tomorrow, 1/16.

One thing I do want to remind you of if you go see this production--there are a few "dark" scenes in the play.  So make sure you prepare young children ahead of time.  There are also a few scary scenes such as when the Beast loses his temper.  A little girl sitting behind us screamed and started crying.  The Beast immediately calms down and explains his anger and apologizes, which does help small children see him as something more than a big, scary Beast, but just beware that a few of these scenes do exist.

Other than that, I definitely think you should try and go , if you can, before it leaves town.  Disney's touring production of Beauty and the Beast was made with all the same magic Disney musters every day in every thing it does.  Little girls (and boys) will enjoy it, and adults will be immersed in the sheer beauty and story of it.  Go on...take the family or make it an adult night out.  However, you get there--get there.  Run, don't walk.  It's that good.

Tickets are still available through Ticketmaster or the Fox box office.

Here are some more pictures from the production:

Enjoy! Ticker

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