Love conquers all.
Now playing at the Cape Cod Theatre Company, Home of the Harwich Junior Theatre, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a powerhouse production show with over-the-top costumes, big-time song and dance numbers and many touching moments. It’s all here, and the HJT stage has never looked finer!
More than 25 actors, both young and young at heart, shine and will “wiggle” into your heart when you experience this show. It may be “a tale as old as time,” but CCTC/HJT makes it all new again with top-notch performers, an incredible set and lavish production numbers. There’s so much to learn from this tale. Nothing is really as it seems. There are consequences to your actions that affect not just you but others. Stay true to yourself.
Director Jane Staab and musical director Robert Wilder held nothing back in this Disney adaptation with music by the dynamic team of Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. From the opening production number we knew we were in for a treat. On a complex and ingenious set, the strong ensemble sang and danced wonderfully. Here we meet Belle and her suitor Gaston. Madison Mayer is a lovely Belle; she sings beautifully and projects the aura of the Disney character perfectly. In as much as she is lovable, Brian (B.C.) Williams is great at being unlikable and pompous as the self-centered Gaston. Le Fou, Gaston’s sidekick, is wonderfully portrayed by Andrew Barbato. The three groupies (Celia Cota, Ariana Goyette and Anna Macek) who hang all over Gaston were fun and got lots of laughs. We also reveled in Ted Vitale’s performance as Belle’s father Maurice, whose misadventure in the forest leads to Belle’s fate.
Alex C. Boyle effortlessly captures the Beast’s complexities; he’s scary then likable. The entire castle cast is amazing from Lumiere (Brad Foster Reinking) to little Chip (Angelina Manchuk). The opening night audience adored Mrs. Potts (Brittany Rolfs) as she sang the title song, laughed with the Wardrobe’s (Kathy Hamilton) trilling voice, giggled at Cogsworth’s (James P. Byrne) comical antics, were charmed by Babette (Carrie Tully) and cringed at the evil Monsieur D’Arque (Brandon Clooney).
“Be My Guest” was a show-stopper that was nearly upstaged by the cutest salt and pepper (Erica Parks and Grace Olah) you’ve ever seen! The entire ensemble (Tyler Brackett, Shaw Schuyler, Caleb Cotoia, Molly Funk, Eden Milczanowski, Lily Pierce, Justin West, Kyra Brimdyr and Ed Coppola) will wow you as well. The troupe nailed every step and movement of Laurel Conrad’s intricate, swanky choreography, often in cumbersome costumes.
Credit for the detailed costumes (Lumiere’s hands light up, and Mrs. Potts is a giant tea pot) goes to Melissa Miller and Frances Covais Lautenberger. The special effects were spot-on for the beast’s transformations thanks to set designer Byrne’s lighting, sound designer J Hagenbuckle and technical director Matthew Kohler. Matthew Lazure and Mary Beth Travis contributed also on props. In action behind the scenes were stage manager Hannah McLaughlin on the light board, Jacobus Kwaak on sound and Fionn Pina Parker as crew. The orchestra (Wilder, piano; Amanda Koslowski, flute/piccolo; Tony Steve, clarinet; Dan Yeager, trumpet; and Hunter Sousa, percussion) never missed a beat.
Don’t miss this show! Bring the family. And don’t forget to bring a pen for the autograph session on the deck after the show. Grab a shot of your child meeting Lumiere and Mrs. Potts.
"Beauty and the Beast"
At Cape Cod Theatre Company, Home of the Harwich Junior Theatre
Division Street, Harwich.
Through July 15, Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays through Sundays at 4 p.m.
Information and reservations: 508-432-2002, ext. 2, www.capecodtheatrecompany.org