Beauty And The Beast Shows at the Opera House This Week Only
It is a tale as old as time, and it is coming to Boston. Beauty and the Beast, a delightful live action musical based on the classic 1991 Disney animated film, is showing at the Opera House from January 6 until January 10.
The play, which traces its roots to an 18th century French fairy tale by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, stars Brooke Quintana as Belle, our titular beauty. As an intelligent young girl, Belle dreams of a life far grander than the one she leads in her small village. When her father goes missing one day, she goes out in search of him, but ends up imprisoned in a castle deep in the woods by the mysterious Beast.
The hideous Beast, known as Sam Hartley off stage, is actually a handsome young prince who was cursed by a witch for his selfishness and vanity. Belle befriends the Beast, but is blackmailed by Gaston, played by Christiaan Smith Kotlarek, who wishes to marry her. The Beast allows Belle to leave in order to save her father, even knowing that she represents his best, last chance at salvation. The Beast needs Belle’s help to become human again, but can he find redemption in time?
The Tony award-winning show features some of your favorite songs from the movie, including the title track and Be Our Guest, along with seven new numbers written just for the stage. As one of the longest running productions in the world, over 35 million people have experienced the magic of Linda Woolverton’s book, and the music by Alan Menken with lyrics penned by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.
Lovers of the film will find much to enjoy, although those with a keen eye and ear will find some subtle differences between the stage and the screen. The feather duster was never named in the movie, for example, but is revealed as Babette in the musical. Gaston is a chauvinistic pig in both versions, but the playwright adds in a philandering flavor to his character as well. Chip, one of the favorite characters from the Disney film, has a greatly reduced role in the play, given the difficulty of portraying a tea cup in a live action production.
Attending any production at the Boston Opera House, a gilded and elegant venue, is nearly as magical as the fairy tale brought to life that graces its stage this week. Originally opened as a movie palace in 1928, it was restored to its original grandeur and rededicated in this century as the home of the Boston Ballet. When it reopened in 2004, The Lion King, another Disney animated classic brought to the stage, was the opening show.
With a run time of two hours and 30 minutes with a single 15 minute intermission, Beauty and the Beast is family friendly and certain to please children of all ages. Tickets can be found on the Broadway in Boston website.