Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is a musical that needs no introduction. If you know the story, love the characters, and adore the music, then you’ll love this theatrical version as well. Directed by Drew Humphrey, this show tells the beloved tale in a full and beautiful way that is engrossing for all ages.
The cast brings each familiar character to life in their own way. Caitlin Burke as Mrs. Potts is warm and motherly, and carries the highlight song “Tale as Old as Time” perfectly. Her little shadow Chip, played by Jackson Parker Gill, and alternately Sadie Mathers, is likewise a bright spot in the show. Robert Anthony Jones as Cogsworth and Jonathan Cobrda as Lumiere are a strong comedic duo, playing off each other with impeccable comedic timing and the latter more than rising to the high bar of “Be Our Guest”.
Joe Caskey hits the sweet spot between frightening and empathetic in his portrayal of Beast, bringing beautiful pathos to his rendition of “If I Can’t Love Her”, while Daniela Rodrigo’s Belle is charming and likeable with a sweet, lovely voice that shines in “A Change in Me”.
The villainous Gaston, as played by Tim Rogan, impresses with his strong resonant voice in each of his songs, even as sidekick Lefou, played by Noah Ruebeck, brings hilarious contrast to the swagger through his energetic physical comedy.
The scenic design by Kyle Dixon balances the charming pastoral town with the imposing castle perfectly. A backdrop of a beautiful scenic painting sets the fairy tale tone while several fluidly moving set pieces of arches and columns transform the space from scene to scene seamlessly. Similarly, the lighting designed by John Burkland uses a combination of dramatic lighting choices and an abundant color scheme that creates a magic whether it be through the mottled eeriness of the forest scenes or the bright bursts of the musical numbers. Musical direction by Nick Wilders conducts the beloved songs beautifully both directly during the numbers and through the use of instrumental reprise.
The members of the ensemble fill out every scene with incredible skill, executing the dynamic dance and choreography by Mandy Modic flawlessly. Perhaps the most impressive in an impressive lineup of elements, however, are the costumes. Designed by Dustin Cross, this show features an array of sparkling and imaginative costumes throughout. “Be Our Guest” is a positive buffet of costumes and routines as the ensemble comes in and out as an ever-increasing collection of enchanted objects, leading up to an energetic high-kicking finale.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is running now at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport, NY from November 16 to December 31, 2023.
Advisory: A few intense moments for young children, and mild sexual innuendo.
Run Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes including one 15-minute intermission.