Tale as old as time….
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast comes to life in this beautiful production directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer at Imagination Stage.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast opened last night at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Maryland. My family and I were lucky enough to be among the members of the audience for opening night.
If you have never been to Imagination Stage you are missing out. Founded in 1979 , Imagination Stage inspires creativity through theatre and arts education programs that nurture, challenge and empower young people of all abilities through year-round classes, camps and professional theatre.
My last review at Imagination Stage was for The Little Mermaid which we thoroughly enjoyed. It is always so fun to be able to experience beautiful theater with my children by my side.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is a larger show to tackle and I was wondering how and if Imagination Stage could pull it off with such a small cast. I shouldn’t have wondered because they pulled it off-beautifully!The show stars real life married couple, Matthew Schleigh as the Beast and Jessica Lauren Ball as Belle. Ms. Ball is wholesome, sweet and charming as Belle. Both Mr. Schleigh and Ms. Ball perform superbly; their beautiful voices take the show to the next level. Mr.Schleigh seamlessly makes the transition from an angry beast unable to communicate his frustrations, to the gentle considerate friend that Belle falls for. Sadly, I assume for time purposes the Beast’s solo, “If I Can’t Love Her” was cut from this version. I would have loved to have seen Mr. Schleigh’s take on that beautiful piece.
The cast as a whole is strong, talented and a joy to watch. The only issue that really irked me was the choreography in “Be Our Guest.” This song a big showstopper seemed to fall flat as the choreography tried to make up for the lack of cast members with too much action.
Kathryn Chase Bryer’s directs the show beautifully; I particularly loved the use of a scrim at the top and finale of the show. It reminded me of the Beauty and the Beast book I had as a child in which the characters were portrayed in silhouette.
The most magical part of last nights performance was watching my 5 and 10 year old on the edge of their seats. They can be harsh critics so I was happy to find that they absolutely adored the show and can’t wait to come back to Imagination Stage and see the next production.
The magic of live theater at Imagination Stage is alive and well.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast runs November 19, 2016-January 15, 2017.
Tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at (301)280-1660 or online here.