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Review: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at Ovations Theatre

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Ovations Theatre has enchanted its way into the hearts of its audiences once again with a children’s production of Beauty and the Beast. This young and energetic cast, directed by Darnell Morris, takes us through Linda Woolverton’s take on the classic Disney tale, singing songs composed by Alan Menken with the lyrics of Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.

At first glance, one is immediately captivated by the staggering production values of this performance. The set and costume design of Beauty and the Beast Jr. were the perfect foundation to realizing a magical land of dancing furniture and singing decor. With stunning backdrops and smoothly transitioning set pieces, the seamless designs of the production kept the pace energized and dynamic.

Olivia Gilbert as Belle. Photo courtesy of Ovations Theatre.

In the story, a girl by the name of Belle, played by the elegant Olivia Gilbert in the Saturday night production, searches to find her place amongst the townsfolk of her poor village, all while skirting the advances of the boorish hunter named Gaston, a towering presence (PG Ruff). When her father is taken prisoner by a monstrous beast (Andrew Fuentes), Belle chooses to replace her father as prisoner in the enchanted castle. The story follows the development of the relationship between Belle and the beast, and what ensues when the townsfolk discover the presence of the seemingly menacing figure on the outskirts of their town.

Highlights of the show on Saturday night included the comedic banter of the enchanted candelabra Lumiere, (Jack Rosenberg) and Cogsworth the talking clock, (Cole Chalfant), and the ever adorable teacup Chip, played by Alexa Vinner.

Andrew Fuentes (The Beast) and members of the cast of ‘Beauty and the Beast JR’. Photo courtesy of Ovations Theatre.

With a cast of 30+ children, this production managed some pretty spectacular moments. Music Director Arielle Bayer and Choreographer Patricia Targette enlivened the performance with stunning spectacles such as the rousing bar-top musical number “Gaston” and the magical cabaret-style dinner performance of “Be Our Guest.”

Running Time: 75 minutes, including one intermission.

Beauty and the Beast, JR played on January 12-14, 2017, at The Kreeger Theatre at The JCC of Greater Washington – 6125 Montrose Road, in Rockville, MD.

The next Ovations Theatre production will be on March 3-5, 2017, with Sunday in The Park With George. Tickets are on sale online

April 21-23, 2017, Ovations will present Hairspray, JR. Tickets for Hairspray JR will be available shortly online

The Guest Reviewer is Zachary J. Lasko.

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