Last Friday night, Durham Performing Arts Center patrons found much to cheer about in the third visit of NETworks Presentations, LLC’s brilliantly reimagined touring version of the Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which may have earned an even heartier standing ovation than the show received during its 2010 and 2013 sojourns in the Bull City. The effervescent 2015 tour cast puts plenty of snap, crackle, and pop into their crowd-pleasing portrayals of the fairy-tale characters of Disney’s 1991 animated film; and scenic designer Stanley A. Meyer’s ingeniously streamlined set provides a storybook setting and a sparkling showcase for costume designer Ann Hould-Ward’s Tony Award®-winning creations. The dazzling outfits of the Enchanted Objects that inhabit the Beast’s castle deserve their own standing ovation.
East Carolina University graduate Brooke Quintana makes a winsome Beauty (a.k.a. Belle). She sings and dances like a dream. Sam Hartley is likewise excellent as the ferocious Beast whom the Beauty tames — with kindness. He frets, he fumes, he roars — magnificently.
Christiaan Smith Kotlarek is hilarious as Gaston the Huntsman, an egotistical braggadocio not content with the fawning admiration of the Silly Girls of the village, played by Jeanette Palmer, Colleen Roberts, and Sarah Shelton. Gaston sets his cap for Belle, much to her dismay.
Matt DaSilva, who plays Gaston’s fumbling, bumbling, stumbling sidekick Lefou, also tickles the audience’s funny-bone. Thomas Mothershed gives a personble performance as Belle’s father, the eccentric inventor Maurice; and Danny Burgos adds a creepy characterization of Monsieur d’Arque, the proprietor of Maison des Lunes (insane asylum). Samuel Shurtleff is delightful as Lumière, the oversexed candelabra/valet; and Kyle Huey, subbing for Ryan N. Phillips, is amusing as Cogsworth, the stuffy talking clock/head of household of the Beast’s castle.
Crisp comic characterizations by Stephanie Gray as Mrs. Potts (the teapot), Melissa Jones as Babette (the French feather duster), and Stephanie Harter Gilmore as Madame de la Grande Bouche (opera diva-turned-wardrobe also heighten the show’s hilarity.
With its stellar cast executing the magnificent musical staging of original Broadway director Robert Jess “Rob” Roth and choreographer Matt West to a fare-thee-well, the latest traveling edition of Beauty and the Beast is a real treat. Catch one of today’s final two performances. You’ll be glad you did.
SECOND OPINION: Oct. 24th Durham, NC Herald-Sun review by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/lifestyles/review-beauty-and-the-beast-a-classic/article_e66960bc-7a5e-11e5-9e37-a3d56b6bb4fe.html and Oct. 21st Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/lifestyles/entertainment_more/living-a-dream-ecu-grad-stars-as-belle-in-beauty/article_fca514f6-7839-11e5-b6ca-2753f2b07742.html (Note: You must subscribe to read these articles). (Note: To read Triangle Arts and Entertainment’s online version of the Oct. 24th Triangle Review preview by Robert W. McDowell, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2015/10/disneys-beauty-and-the-beast-returns-to-dpac-for-five-performances-on-oct-23rd-to-25th/.)
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District.
TICKETS: $30-$145. Click here for DPAC Special Offers.
DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787), tickets@DPACnc.com, or http://www.DPACnc.com/events-tickets/where-to-buy.
Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/849724.
GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919/281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.DPACnc.com/events-tickets/group-services.
SHOW: http://www.DPACnc.com/events/detail/disneys-beauty-and-the-beast and https://www.facebook.com/events/938187969554115/.
VIDEO PREVIEWS: http://www.beautyandthebeastontour.com/video-gallery.
THE TOUR: http://www.beautyandthebeastontour.com/.
TOUR CAST: http://www.beautyandthebeastontour.com/cast.
TOUR CREATIVE TEAM: http://www.beautyandthebeastontour.com/creative-team.
DPAC NEWS RELEASE: http://www.DPACnc.com/news/detail/disneys-beauty-and-the-beast-is-returning-to-DPAC-october-23-25-2015.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.DPACnc.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC, https://twitter.com/DPAC, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durham_Performing_Arts_Center.
DPAC CONTENT ADVISORY: “Recommended for all audiences including couples, parents, grandparents and kids alike (ages 6 and above only please)…. If you ever have questions about the content or appropriateness of a show, please contact us at GuestServices@DPACnc.com.”
Beauty and the Beast (1740 folktale): http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0425c.html (Beauty and the Beast: Folktales of Type 425C, translated and/or edited by D.L. Ashliman) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty_and_the_Beast (Wikipedia).
Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve (French author, c. 1695-1755): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabrielle-Suzanne_Barbot_de_Villeneuve (Wikipedia).
Beauty and the Beast (1991 animated film): http://movies.disney.com/beauty-and-the-beast (official website), http://www.alanmenken.com/m/work/beauty-and-the-beast/ (Alan Menken web page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty_and_the_Beast_%281991_film%29 (Wikipedia).
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1994 Broadway and 1997 West End musical): http://www.mtishows.com/show_detail.asp?showid=000262 (Music Theatre International), http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?ID=1895 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty_and_the_Beast_%28musical%29 (Wikipedia).
Study Guide: http://www.tuts.com/Images/SeasonShowDocs/beauty_study.pdf (Theatre Under the Stars of Houston, TX).
Alan Menken (composer): http://www.alanmenken.com/m/ (official website), http://www.beautyandthebeastontour.com/creative-team/alan-menken.html (tour bio), http://www.ibdb.com/Person/View/12135 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Menken (Wikipedia).
Howard Ashman (lyricist): http://www.howardashman.com/ (official website), http://www.beautyandthebeastontour.com/creative-team/howard-ashman.html (tour bio), http://www.ibdb.com/Person/View/6356 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Ashman (Wikipedia).
Sir Tim Rice (lyricist): http://www.timrice.co.uk/ (official website), http://www.beautyandthebeastontour.com/creative-team/tim-rice.html (tour bio), http://www.ibdb.com/Person/View/8890 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Rice (Wikipedia).
Linda Woolverton (librettist): http://www.beautyandthebeastontour.com/creative-team/linda-woolverton.html (tour bio), http://www.ibdb.com/Person/View/7344 (Internet Broadway Database) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_Woolverton (Wikipedia).
NETworks Presentations, LLC (producer): http://www.networksontour.com/ (official website).
Robert Jess “Rob” Roth (original Broadway director): http://www.beautyandthebeastontour.com/creative-team/rob-jess-roth.html (tour bio) and http://ibdb.com/Person/View/16035 (Internet Broadway Database).
Matt West (original Broadway choreographer): http://www.beautyandthebeastontour.com/creative-team/matt-west.html (tour bio), http://ibdb.com/Person/View/1511 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_West (Wikipedia).
Stanley A. Meyer (Broadway and tour scenic designer): http://www.beautyandthebeastontour.com/creative-team/stanley-a-meyer.html (tour bio) and http://www.ibdb.com/Person/View/26370 (Internet Broadway Database).
Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing email@example.com and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)