A Beautiful “Beauty and the Beast” at Wick Theatre
By Skip Sheffield
“Beauty and the Beast” goes back, way back to a 1740 French fairy tale.
The Wick Theatre has a thoroughly modern version enhanced with video projections that cuts to the chase. Beauty is beautiful Mallory Newbrough. The Beast is Loren Christopher, a prince cursed by a witch because he turned her away.
This Disney version of “B&B” is highly simplified version for an attention-deficit audience, running through July 9. The score, by Alan Menkin with lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, has become quite familiar even if you haven’t seen the stage version or the 1991 Disney animated version on which it is based.
Mallory Newbrough, who was so electrifying as Janis Joplin in the Wick production of “Beehive,” channels her softer, feminine side as Belle, a book-loving girl who lives with her widowed father Maurice (Troy Stanley). Maurice is considered an oddball because of his goofy inventions. Belle is considered odd simply because she loves literature and could not care less about Gaston (Jacob Thompson) the vain town hunk who pursues her relentlessly.
Maurice wanders off into the woods, gets lost, and ends up at the castle of the Beast (Loren Christopher). When Belle tries to free her father, she comes into the clutches of the Beast, who is a sad, lonely and very ugly man.
When the Beast was cursed, so was everyone in his castle. So everyone who was human is turned into a household object. Therefore we have Cogsworth the clock (Kevin Robert Kelly), Lumiere the candelabra (Jonathan Van Dyke), Mrs. Potts the teapot (Angie Radosh) and her son Chip (Alexa Lasanta) and an opera-singing wardrobe (Krystal Bly). Flitting about is Babette (Emily Tarolo), an incurable flirt and temptress to Lumiere.
These characters give the Wick Theatre a chance to show off its costume magic. Combined with ingenious sets by Kelly Tighe and precise lighting by Jose Santiago, “B&B” is the most visually stunning show I have yet seen at The Wick. Its enormous cast includes a half-dozen local high school students who blend quite well thanks to the direction of Dom Ruggiero. Even if you have seen Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” before, you might want to consider seeing it again for its timeless message that real love overcomes any physical obstacle.Tickets are $70-$75 adults and $40 children under 13. Call 561-995-2333 or go to www.thewick.org