By Edna Snidebottom
On Friday night, there was a line out the door of the Media Theatre as patrons anxiously waited to get their seats for Disney’s Beauty and The Beast. This popular show with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and book by Linda Woolverton is part of the reason but also is Media Theatre’s reputation for providing excellent musical productions and this one does not disappoint.
Costumes by Fourth Wall Scenic are outstanding. I loved the spoons, forks and knives, part of the ensemble which includes Dante Bratelli, Ronnie Keller, Kimberly Maxson, Megan McDevitt, Niklaus Miller, Dana Orange, Maddy Pelesh, Christian Ryan, Jacob Schrimpf, Kristen Smith, Cara Treacy and Erika Wasko. These talented actors and singers kept the action moving under the clever choreography and direction of one of my favorite directors Dann Dunn.
Set design (Fourth Wall Scenic) took us to the different locales seamlessly with a stage crew well managed by Tim Haney. Steven Spera, Carl Park, Christine Gaydos, Ben Kapilow and Patricia Delsordo skillfully bring you into the world of Belle and her Beast.
Belle’s father is ably played by Nicholas F. Saverine, Bob Stineman is convincing as the conceited bully Gaston and Stephen Fala is a stand out as Lefou (he’s amazingly flexible and hysterical as Gaston’s fool). JP Dunphy is wonderfully charming as Lumiere, Kelly Briggs has perfect timing as Cogsworth, Hillary Parker is a lovely Mrs. Potts and Chip was winningly played by Charlie Carroccio.
Molly Tower and Julianna Babb are spot on as Madame De La Grande and Babette.
Of course you need a talented beauty and beast to bring this production to the highest level. Alanna J. Smith totally inhabits the role of Belle from the moment she steps on stage with never a false note and Jarrett Jay Yoder’s Beast goes from angry and scary to tender and loving effortlessly. What a wonderful range his voice has. I have to admit I did indeed tear up near the end of the play, so invested was I in the happiness of Belle and her beast.
You don’t want to miss the chance to see Media Theatre’s excellent production of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, a perfect holiday choice, which runs now through Jan. 14, 2018. The theatre is at 104 E. State St., Media, PA 19063. For more information, call 610-891-0100 or visit www.mediatheatre.org
By Edna Snidebottom