Beauty and the Beast may be the best of the Disney musicals. It’s got great music, the story resonates with more real dramatic tension than the average lion, and the characters are unforgettable. As anyone who has recently seen any of the excellent high school productions in the area will attest, this one’s got legs. When the national touring company of Beauty and the Beast touches down at the Granada on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 2 and 3, audiences new and old will be in for a treat, as this is the first outing for an entirely new official version of the show. The same team that mounted the original Broadway production has gotten back together to work with this cast and redo everything from the choreography to the costumes and the sets. And this is no minor brush-up; it’s a major revision. For instance, the acclaimed puppeteer Basil Twist has created new puppet characters out of the wolves from the original show, something that’s never been seen before. Merritt David Janes, who plays Lumiere, recently weighed in on why folks should check out Beauty and the Beast.
1. The family outing factor: “The show is perfect for children who have never been to the theater before” said Janes, “because it has all the Disney magic, and you can just step out of the daily grind and into another world—even if your daily grind is going to preschool.”
2. The comical sophistication of Lumiere: “I love playing Lumiere,” says Janes, “because he’s the one who takes the story where everyone wants it to go, and yet he’s got all these comic scenes with Cogsworth, and he’s also somewhat sophisticated. I sometimes think of him as a little like the emcee from Cabaret.”
3. The dazzle of Broadway: “It’s incredible what this creative team has done to reimagine the show,” said Janes. “The costumes, for instance, are by Ann Hould-Ward, who won the Tony for her work on the original show, and these are all new designs. Every member of the original group—including choreographer Matt West and director Rob Roth—have come back to make this a totally new production. It’s very high-tech, and it’s beautiful.”
For tickets and info, call 899-2222 or visit granadasb.org.