All of us were raised with the enchantment of fairy tales, from Thumbelina (Hans Christian Andersen) and Cinderella (Charles Perrault), to Rapunzel (Brothers Grimm), many of them later popularized by Disney.
Today I was thoroughly enchanted by Bravo@KAT’s presentation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, JR.’s ‘Beast Cast’ in this double-cast performance, and it was as enchanting as any fairy tale I have seen or read. And the JR. (Junior) version emphasized all of the songs that stuck with me after seeing the Disney film version at least fifty times with my children.
Ranging in age from knee-high to a grasshopper to fifteen, put on a show that was far and above what one would expect from a group of very young actors. The singing and acting were top-notch!
There were terrific voices in the cast, including Leah Fox (Belle), Ethan Miller (the Beast), Sam Nasar (Gaston), Ethan Milstone (Lumiere), and Josie Weinberg (Mrs. Potts). Fox delivered a heartfelt and beautiful rendition of “Home’;Miller was commanding as the Beast during “If I Can’t Love Her”;Nasar was perfectly arrogant in “Gaston”;Milstone was très magnifique singing “Be Our Guest!”, and Weinberg sang a sublime “Beauty and the Beast.”
I was shocked to see how young Ethan Miller was when his beast head came off! He performed like a veteran!
I was totally blown away by the perfection of the costumes made by Frederick Costume Shop. Even the dancing plates had set marks on the back. Set design by Bill Pressly and the artistry of Theresa Mezebish, along with the props assembled by Suzie Friedman, brought visual magic to the stage!
Director/Choreographer Darnell Morris, along with Co-Choreographer Eben Logan, did a spectacular job, particularly with the large crowd scenes. Everything flowed seamlessly. I was really impressed with how the choreography was well-matched to each group’s skill level. This made everyone look great!
With a double cast totaling 51 members, Music Director Mayumi Baker Griffie deserves a special round of applause. Like the choreography, each ensemble member was singing at a level that felt age and voice appropriate.
Producer Laurie Levy Issembert utilized the version of the story popularized by Disney with music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.
Bravo@Kat’s Beauty and the Beast JR. is a totally delightful and magical experience for kids of all ages! Congrats to all the talented young actors who lit up the stage today! Be my guest and take a well-deserved bow!
Running Time: One hour and fifteen minutes, with no intermission.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast JR. plays again tomorrow at 1:30 PM and 4:00 PM (which is ASL interpreted) at Randolph Road Theatre – 4010 Randolph Road, in Silver Spring, MD.
Purchase your tickets at the door.
The Music Man JR. (The ‘Music’ Cast’) at Bravo@KAT at Olney Theatre Center by Amanda Gunther.
Fiddler on the Roof JR at BRAVO@KAT by Eric Denver.