Most of us recall our first experience with Disney’s masterpiece Beauty and the Beast. The exquisite scenery, loveable characters, and memorable songs helped to reinvigorate the franchise and begin what would later be dubbed “The Disney Renaissance.” Breaking the cinematic standards previously set by animated films, the 1991 children’s flick became the first to score a Best Picture nod from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, losing out to the equally iconic Silence of the Lambs. Three years later, Alan Menken took the tale-and its tunes-to the stage, and the production went on to become Broadway’s sixth longest running show in history. Now, Santa Barbara High School’s theater department (with the help of a couple notable S.B. names) is putting its own spin on this timeless classic-and the result is certain to be nothing short of spectacular. SBHS’s Beauty and the Beast will be performed at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, May 9 and 10, and Thursday-Saturday, May 15-17, at the Santa Barbara High School Theatre (700 E. Anapamu St.), with a special 1 p.m. matinee for Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 11. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students and are available at the box office on online at sbhstheatre.com. Read on for a couple more reasons why this is one show not to miss.
1) For the Kids: Proceeds from the production will benefit the Santa Barbara High School theater department’s participation in the upcoming 2008 Edinburgh Fringe Festival-an invitation that represents an extremely high honor in the wide world of theater.
2) Helping Hands: The SBHS theater program has been hurt recently by the theft of roughly $17,000 worth of theater equipment, stolen directly from the high school. In other words, there’s never been a better time to help than now.
3) Big Names, Small Theater: Chris Walas, an Oscar-winning makeup artist and special effects expert, has lent his expertise to designing an incredible enchanted castle specifically for the show. Add to that the fact that the production is being directed by Otto Layman, and you’ve got the makings for a great night of musical theater.
4) A Timeless Treasure: Beauty and the Beast is arguably the best Disney musical around-and undoubtedly one of the most decorated and well-received productions The Walt Disney Company has ever lent its name to. And the songs, which range from the humorous (“Gaston”) to the touching (“Something There”) to the timeless (“Be Our Guest”), will undoubtedly stir up fond memories of the brilliant 1991 animated flick.
5) Happily Ever After: True love changes the visually horrific but emotionally sensitive Beast into a handsome prince. Now that’s a fairy tale!