Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Arsht/Kravis Centers: Beauty and the Beast (3 reviews)

The NETworks Production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast played last week at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and moved up to play this week at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach.  (It's a TOUR, remember?)
The most beautiful love story ever told comes to life in this lush, romantic Broadway musical for all generations. Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, the smash hit Broadway musical, is coming to your town! Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, this eye-popping spectacle has won the hearts of over 35 million people worldwide. This classic musical love story is filled with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes, and dazzling production numbers including "Be Our Guest" and the beloved title song.
Rob Roth directed a cast that included Liz Shivener, Justin Glaser, Nathaniel Hackman, and Michael Fatica, with choreography by Matt West.

Jan Sjostrom reviewed in West Palm Beach for The Palm Beach Daily News:
NETworks Presen-tations assembled the original creative team to revamp the show for the tour. One of the best results is the show’s gorgeous stage frame, consisting of a series of receding arches that transform into elaborate floral patterns or gnarled tree trunks.
Rob Roth’s direction emphasizes the comic equally with the romantic. That works in the stage-brightening scenes featuring Gaston, played with self-absorbed swagger by Nathaniel Hackmann. He’s a cut above the rest of the cast, obviously comfortable on stage with a voice as big as the Beast’s castle door.
Liz Shivener’s Belle is spunky and sweet, but on Tuesday night her voice didn’t pick up the heft it needed until midway through the first act...
The comic approach to Belle’s and the Beast’s uneasy relationship as they’re getting to know each other is only partially effective. Justin Glaser’s growls and animal-like movements make him a fearsome Beast, but at times he and Shivener seem to be channeling Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion...
Matt Watt’s choreography and Ann Hould-Ward’s costumes are workmanlike if not inspired. Basil Twist’s puppets, portraying the enchantress and the wolves, are a whimsical if a somewhat jarring revision.
Hap Erstein reviewed it in West Palm Beach for The Palm Beach Post:
Now at the Kravis Center through Sunday is a cut-down, cardboard-flat licensed tour of the show, a joyless reduction of the material...
Original director Rob Roth and choreographer Matt West have been hired to reconceive the show, which apparently means finding ways to cut corners while broadening the performances beyond cartoonishness. About the only thing that was not reduced was the show’s running time – slightly over two-and-a-half hours...
The cast is nonunion, which is not nearly as much of a problem as how broadly director Roth encourages his performers to play. That could be expected for buffoon villain Gaston (Nathaniel Hackmann) and his tiresome slapstick sidekick Lefou (Michael Fatica), but distressing for Justin Glaser’s Beast. Fortunately Glaser and Liz Shivener (Belle) have lovely singing voices, well-showcased on 11th-hour reprise duets of Home and Beauty and the Beast.
...this is hardly a Beauty and the Beast with much magic in any sense of the word.
Beau Higgins reviewed it in Miami for
A show such as Beauty And The Beast cannot be done with sets and costumes that seem to have been bought from the local party supply store.
Cheapening this show has ripped out its heart and ripped out its guts and it is a huge, huge disappointment.  I saw the first national tour of BEAUTY and I loved it.  I was expecting a similar experience last night.  What appeared to unfold onstage was a glorified high school production, perhaps with a few more dollars to spend than average.
Anyone who saw this show on Broadway or saw the first national tour will likely experience anger.  I did and I still am.  I don't know what the choreographer and director had in mind.  But this BEAUTY is a bore.

A wrap on the knuckles to the folks at NETworks for producing this tour.  Shame, shame, shame.

Beauty and the Beast plays through January 9 at the Kravis Center.

No comments:

Post a Comment