“Cappies” Student Reviews for “Beauty and the Beast”

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Vanessa Bliss of Paul VI Catholic High School

Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney’s most beloved movies, and it’s easy to see why. It has the perfect blend of magic, romance, and all-around fun. In Woodgrove High School’s performance of the stage adaption of the “Tale as Old as Time,” audiences are reminded of all the enchantment the movie brought them, and find new reasons to love the story as well.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast originally opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre in 1994. It has a book by Linda Woolverton, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. It tells of a selfish prince who is transformed into a beast by an enchantress until he can learn to love and be loved in return. When a beautiful young woman comes to his castle to look for her imprisoned father, she agrees to take her father’s place as a prisoner, giving hope to the Beast’s servants, who have been turned into enchanted objects, that she may be the girl to break the spell.
A plethora of delightful performances from the cast carried the show. Lumiere, played by Lukas D’Errico, truly lived up to his character’s name by illuminating the stage each time he was on it with his presence and comedic timing. It was especially fun to watch him and Cogsworth (Eric DeBerry) bicker, and he and the flirtatiously fun Babette (Molly Warndorf) made a perfect pair. Georgia Peake, playing the wardrobe Madame de la Grande Bouche, always wowed the audience with her vocal ability. She got into character perfectly by having a singing-like quality to her lines and dazzled each time she sang a high, operatic note.
The show had some incredibly strong dancers, and they were aptly showcased as both wolves in the woods and castle objects in “Be Our Guest”. The costumes that were student-made were movie accurate and had some pleasing details, such as the Silly Girls having more brightly colored skirts than the rest of the women in the town. One of the most creative elements in the production was the pit orchestra. It was beautifully directed by senior Caden Vandervort and viola player Somerset Peede even transposed her own music because it was originally written for a violin.
Woodgrove put together a enjoyable fairy tale that wonderfully showcased the students’ unique talents.  They managed to transport each audience member into a lovely “adventure in the great wide somewhere”.

 

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Rebecca Goodhart of Dominion High School

Princesses need not always be the damsels in distress.  Helpless princes can just as easily find themselves in need of saving by a formidable woman.  Woodgrove High School’s production of Beauty and the Beast demonstrates that the conviction and devotion of a single girl can bring about a world of change.
Beauty and the Beast is based on the beloved 1991 Disney animated film of the same name, which was adapted from a French fairy tale.  While the original fairy tale was used to prepare young girls for the idea of arranged marriages, the Disney movie and musical are known for their charming characters and catchy compositions.  The musical adaption retains the basic idea of the stories before it; a selfish prince brings a curse onto his household that can only be broken by the magic of love.
In order to bring the sense of fairy tale magic into the production, actors were garbed in impressive costumes that were reminiscent of the show’s Disney roots.  The enchanted servants’ attire as household objects was clearly carefully crafted, and the bulkiness of some of the outfits did not seem to hinder the actors’ participation in the show’s more intensely choreographed numbers.
Filling the “beauty” part of the musical’s title was Lauren Bogle as Belle, whose resonant voice easily carried her solo numbers.  Bogle’s transition from a sassy captive to a sweet princess added new flavor to Belle that supported her character’s development throughout the production.  Jonathan Wilkerson as The Beast demonstrated a similar development as he went from guttural roars to hesitant conversation, and his growth evoked some of the show’s Disney charm.  The evolution of the leads’ interactions from hostile arguing to honest affection added a feeling of genuine emotion to the production.
Many individual members of the ensemble brought stand-out performances to the show, Eric DeBerry as Lumiere being chief among them.  DeBerry’s comical line delivery and lively stage presence brought vigor to taxing numbers such as “Be Our Guest.”  LeFou (Sarah Rector) only needed to be present onstage in order to add vivacity to the scene with her overly dramatic persona as a worshipful lapdog.  While many of the characters sported French accents, Georgia Peake as the Wardrobe was particularly commendable for maintaining a clear accent while repeatedly nailing the highest notes in the show.
Complementing the spirited work of the actors was the clever use of back lighting that changed color to reflect the mood of the characters.  The back of the stage also sported a raised platform that provided more levels to ensemble numbers and doubled as the castle’s staircase.  Another memorable set piece was a wheeled platform with only two walls that faced the audience as a library or provided a backdrop to the beast’s iconic lair in the west wing.
Creating a unique retelling of a story made iconic by Disney can be a daunting task, but Woodgrove Theatre rose to the occasion with a memorable rendition of a fairy tale classic.