Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, A Holiday Treat
This holiday season, the Racine Theatre Guild is bringing back one of its most popular shows ever, “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” a full-length Broadway musical for the entire family, on two weekends, December 6 through 15.
With music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton, the animated film “Beauty and the Beast” (1991) became a stage musical in 1994. The show was nominated for ten Drama Desk Awards and nine Tony Awards. It played for 13 years on Broadway and has since been performed all over the world. “Beauty and the Beast” and “Be Our Guest” are among the memorable songs in the Oscar-winning score.
This “tale as old as time” follows the unfolding and unlikely romance between an attractive, independent young woman, Belle (Bryanna Van Caster), and an unsightly beast (Bob Benson). In the beginning, a vain and uncaring prince (Connor Benson) refuses shelter to an old hag. The hag then reveals her true identity--a beautiful enchantress (Samantha Sustachek)--and in an angry act of vengeance, she transforms the prince into a hideous beast and his servants into inanimate objects. She leaves behind a rose to be used as a timer: he can only break the spell by finding someone he can love who will love him in return, Beast that he is, before the last petal falls. The story picks up years later, with Belle spurning the affections of pompous Gaston (Zak Keil). En route to an invention fair, Belle’s scientist father, Maurice (Gary Stamm), becomes lost in the woods. He comes upon a castle whose staff includes a candelabra (Lumiere—Adam Flores), a clock (Cogsworth—Davidson Kane), a teapot (Mrs. Potts—Ellie Hammond) and her child Chip (Evelyn Alumbreros), a feather duster (Babette—Christie Burgess-Martino), and a wardrobe (Tammy Zeller). Maurice inadvertently angers the castle’s master, the Beast, and is locked away. When Belle learns of his capture, she becomes the Beast’s prisoner in exchange for her elderly father’s release. Meanwhile, Gaston, determined to claim Belle as his bride, plots with his allies Lefou (John Christensen) and D’Arque (Matthew Hoye) to kill the Beast and have Maurice committed to an asylum. As the plot thickens, the relationship between Belle and the Beast grows. In the end, like all good fairytales, love prevails and they live happily ever after.
The Racine Theatre Guild cast is completed by Rebekah Bryan, Dominique Martin, Isabella Smetana, Lori Russ, Moises Diaz, Marcus Sorenson, Daniel Mendoza, Chris Seymour, Rebecca Weaver, Chrissy Molitor, Juliana Garcia Malacara, Allison Spring, Reese Parish, Vivianrose Johnson, Sarah Bliss, Logan Munoz and Luke Cloherty.
RTG Managing/Artistic Director Douglas Instenes directs the production, with musical direction by Gregory Berg and choreography by Kara Ernst. Steve Barnes designed the set. Bob Benson is production stage manager and Eric Guttenberg is stage manager.
When the Guild first produced “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” in 2008, performances sold out and more than 10,000 people attended. RTG quickly applied for rights to perform it again the following year. Because there were professional companies on tour, with performances scheduled in the Chicago-Milwaukee area, rights were denied, time after time, until now.
SC Johnson Company is sponsoring performances of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” running for two weekends only, December 6-8 and 13-15. Friday and Saturday evening shows are at 7 p.m. Sunday shows are at 2 p.m. There are Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. on December 7 and at 4 p.m. on the 14th. Tickets cost $19 for adults, $17 for seniors (62+) and $14 for students (21 and under). Discounts are available for season subscribers and groups.
The Racine Theatre Guild is a nonprofit community theatre located at 2519 Northwestern Avenue (Highway 38) in Racine. The box office is open year-round on weekdays from noon to 6 p.m. and 90 minutes prior to a performance through intermission. For reservations and ticket information, call 262-633-4218 or go online to www.racinetheatre.org (note: discounts cannot be applied to online purchases).
Bryanna Van Caster as Belle and Bob Benson as the Beast.
Gary Stamm as Maurice (Father) and Bryanna Van Caster as Belle.
Gary Stamm as Maurice and Bob Benson as the Beast.