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HomeOperaContemporary and enjoyable 'Magnificence and the Beast' returns to Olney Theatre Heart

Contemporary and enjoyable ‘Magnificence and the Beast’ returns to Olney Theatre Heart

Olney Theatre Heart proudly presents its revival of Disney’s Magnificence and the Beast, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Time Rice, and e book by Linda Woolverton. COVID compelled the manufacturing to close down early final season, however not earlier than the present garnered nationwide and significant acclaim. Director Marcia Milgrom Dodge leads a groundbreaking solid constructed on inclusivity, with Walter “Bobby” McCoy as musical director for the enduring rating.

Jade Jones as Belle within the Olney Theatre Heart manufacturing of ‘Magnificence and the Beast.’ Picture by Teresa Castracane Images.

Disney’s Magnificence and the Beast is a collective favourite, so naturally, each theater needs its likelihood to supply it. I’ve misplaced depend of what number of instances I’ve seen this present onstage in the previous few years, and whereas all the time satisfying, all of them meld collectively after a while. Olney’s manufacturing stands out by eschewing cultural norms by means of its numerous solid, and the unhappy reality is that this alternative is a radical one, although everyone knows that it actually shouldn’t be. Jade Jones, a self-described queer, plus-sized Black lady, performs Belle, whereas Evan Ruggiero, whose leg was partially amputated as a result of bone most cancers, performs the Beast. It comes as a little bit of a shock, however why shouldn’t Jones and Ruggiero play these roles? Their stellar vocals and transferring performances show that they’re greater than certified. Says director Marcia Milgrom Dodge: “We must be accountable and rejoice all sorts of physique varieties, all sorts of skills. It’s our job, and our privilege, and our accountability as theater makers.”

High: Dylan Arredondo as Cogsworth and Bobby Smith as Lumiere; Backside: Evan Ruggiero because the Beast and Jade Jones as Belle within the Olney Theatre Heart manufacturing of ‘Magnificence and the Beast.’ Picture by Teresa Castracane Images.

Scenic Designer Narelle Sissons transforms the stage right into a dilapidated Baroque fortress, together with a cobweb-covered chandelier that hints at its former glory. Lighting Designer Colin Okay. Payments and sound designer Matt Rowe excellent the ambiance, whereas Costume Designer Ivania Stack’s creations should not solely imaginative and enjoyable however lovely (I’ve by no means heard such applause from the viewers for a robe reveal). The artistic group is professional, particularly McCoy’s dwell orchestra, beneath the stage.

Normally, I give a fast rundown of the present’s plot, however I’ll go forward and assume you understand this story (and when you don’t, the place have you ever been?!). Arguably the primary attraction of this present is its lavish song-and-dance numbers, that are choreographed by Josh Walden. There are a number of new musical numbers, probably the most memorable being “Human Once more,” nevertheless it’s the classics which might be probably the most loved. Michael Burrell is nice as Gaston and grabs the viewers’s consideration together with his self-titled tune. “Be Our Visitor” is energetic and energetic (I’m positive you may watch this quantity a number of instances and nonetheless catch new particulars), and Kelli Blackwell sings a good looking rendition of “Magnificence and the Beast” as Mrs. Potts.

Magnificence and the Beast has a famously massive solid, and my solely gripe is that there have been a few accents that might do with some sharpening. This manufacturing was expertly solid. Evan Ruggiero performs the Beast with a childlike petulance (a enjoyable, welcome twist), and Jade Jones’ strong-minded Belle makes it clear that she gained’t be tolerating his tantrums. Collectively they make a pleasant pair. Dylan Arredondo and Bobby Smith have nice chemistry as Cogsworth and Lumiere, and John Sygar as LeFou, Gaston’s silly sidekick, steals each scene he’s in. An thrilling new addition to the solid is Helen Hayes Award recipient Tracy Lynn Olivera as Madame de la Grande Bouche, an opera-singer-turned-wardrobe. The general performances are very charming, and the solid works very nicely collectively.

Michael Burrell (high middle) as Gaston and John Sygar (backside) as Lefou within the Olney Theatre Heart manufacturing of ‘Magnificence and the Beast.’ Picture by Teresa Castracane Images.

Olney Theatre Heart’s Disney’s Magnificence and the Beast is contemporary, enjoyable, and really memorable. I hadn’t thought sufficient in regards to the significance of casting range till I skilled it on this basic story from my childhood. Now that I’ve, I enormously admire it, and I stay up for seeing extra productions meet up with our progressive instances.

Working Time: Two hours half-hour, together with one 15-minute intermission.

Disney’s Magnificence and the Beast performs by means of January 1, 2023, at Olney Theatre Heart, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Street, Olney, MD. Tickets ($42–$99) may be bought on-line or by calling 301-924-3400. Reductions can be found for teams, seniors, army, and college students.

The paperless program is right here.

The November 22, 2023, opening evening memento program is right here.

COVID Security: Olney Theatre affords each mask-required and mask-recommended performances for patrons within the Mainstage Theatre and 1938 Authentic Theatre: For performances on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, face masks are really useful however not required. For performances on Wednesdays and Sundays, face masks are required. Olney’s Well being and Security web page is right here.

Olney elevates ‘Magnificence and the Beast’ to new and thrilling heights (assessment of the 2021 manufacturing by Darby DeJarnette, November 12, 2021)
Director Marcia Milgrom Dodge on the ‘Magnificence and the Beast’ buzz at Olney (interview by Nicole Hertvik, December 21, 2021)



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