Theater Review: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast shines at Stephens

Brooke Quintana as Beauty on the national Broadway tour of Disneys Beauty and the Beast.

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Brooke Quintana as Beauty on the national Broadway tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Dalton Gackle

An enchanting red rose greeted the audience, setting the stage for a beautiful performance of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” Thursday night in Stephens Auditorium.

Throughout the opening pieces, the audience was introduced to the beautiful voices of Belle (Brooke Quintana), Gaston (Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek) and the ensemble, while Gaston ‘wooed’ everyone with his laughable mannerisms. Lefou, portrayed by Matt Dasilva, extended the laughter with his clumsiness and unfailing loyalty to Gaston.

Even the early scenes with the Beast holding Belle hostage at the castle, normally scenes of tension, humorously portrayed a floundering Beast (Sam Hartley) throwing a temper tantrum.

The most notable number of the first act was “Be Our Guest.” It was over the top, but tastefully so. It featured the voices of the ensemble, some acrobatics by a carpet and even a few confetti cannons.

The act finished with an emotional monologue of “If I Can’t Love Her” by the Beast, setting up the opening scene of the second act for drama.

The second act was excellent overall. It featured less comedy, but just enough laughter intertwined with a developing romance to sway the audience into believing the love that Beauty and the Beast would come to share.

The ensemble shined once again as they sang “Human Again” with a believable hope and excitement.

Stephanie Gray, portraying Mrs. Potts, gave the most exquisite performance of the night, singing the titular composition, “Beauty and the Beast.” Her rendition moved the audience to a hush as the growing connection of Beauty and the Beast was felt throughout the song.

Gray’s performance was followed by another fine vocal of “If I Can’t Love Her” by the Beast and an excellent performance of “A Change In Me” by Belle.

Beauty and the Beast closed with its title song, this time performed by the ensemble. As they belted out the final crescendo, the audience rose and offered a standing ovation for excellent unfaltering vocal performances, quality acting and theatrics in a completely satisfying production.