Disneys Beauty And The Beast Touring + Rochester
The Broadway Version Is Equally Entertaining As The Disney Movie
Disneys Beauty and the Beast touring + rochester schedule has been locked in for the first six months of 2007. During most of that period it will be showing at the Lunt-Fontaine Theater in New York City, with performances moving to Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Center beginning in August of 2007. In addition, after a successful 2006 season in the UK, 2007 will see the UK touring company focusing most performance in London proper.
Reviewers’ comments for the performances to date seem to be mostly positive, but some felt that the expended length over the disney movie version in order to add an additional hour of entertainment might have been better left alone. The other common complaint is that the characters are trying to hard to act cartoonish and sometimes it leaves the humor somewhat too broad. Other reviewers saw this sometimes slapstick approach as being an effort to entrance the younger viewers. The final scene where the beast is transformed back into the handsome prince was felt by some reviewers to be a little bit too pat. Several labeled the scene as “disappointing” to “poorly done.” They would have preferred to reinforce the concept that beauty is only skin deep.
The logistics of moving a show of this size around the country is truly awesome. Tons of scenery, lighting and computer equipment vie with miles of cables. Makeup, prostheses and wigs must be organized, cleaned and repaired after each performance. Costume changes which must take place rapidly—an average of 8 per performance for some characters sometimes in limited space in outmoded theaters are contribute to the technical difficulties encountered in staging this performance.
Yet, over 25 million people have attended performances of this favorite musical. The songs by Alan Menken, Tim Rice and Howard Ashman have the power to move emotions. “Beauty and the Beast” the title song is haunting in its simplicity. The production number for “Be Our Guest” still has the power to delight. Some of the songs added for the Broadway musical adaptation do not rise to the quality level of either the original numbers or the previous works by Rice and Menken. The live orchestra adds that element of anticipation as they warm up that is unique to a live performance.
Beauty and the Beast is currently in its twelfth year of Broadway production, plus years of touring on the road to allow more people to gain the ambiance of Broadway. Productions have occurred in Salt Lake City, Seattle, Lansing, and Cincinnati, just to name a few of the cities on tour. Because of the technical issues in putting on a production of this size, not all theaters are capable of handling either the size of the production or the lighting, sets and choreographed space required in order to do it justice. Yet, those theaters who have book in the past have night after night of sold out performances. Seldom do these performers leave the stage without a standing ovation to celebrate the premier work done by the cast and crew in bringing the fairytale to life.