by Lorie Lewis Ham
As we continue our coverage of theatre in the Valley in December, we now travel to the enchanted world of Disney with the Reedley River City Theatre Company’s production of Beauty And The Beast.
For the few who are not familiar with the fairytale, or the Disney version of it, the story is about a young girl named Belle who loves to read and doesn’t really fit in, however she is very beautiful. Belle’s father (played by Don Applegate) is an eccentric inventor who goes into the local forest and ends up lost–finding himself at the door of “The Beast.” The Beast throws him in the dungeon for trespassing and Belle ends up trading herself for her father. Unknown to Belle, the Beast was once a prince who was cursed by a witch for his arrogance and inability to recognize that true beauty is on the inside. Along with the Beast, his entire staff is cursed and is turning into objects. I don’t want to give away the whole story for anyone who doesn’t know, but in the end Belle becomes their only hope to break the curse.
This musical is as much about the fun, and very familiar, songs as it is about the age old story filled with romance and the lesson of where true beauty comes from. Songs like “Be Our Guest,” “Beauty and the Beast” ,”Belle,” “Gaston,” and “Human Again,” that you will have in your head for days after the show.
Reedley River City does a fine job of bringing this whole story to life despite their limitations on space. The costumes are well done and the singing is lovely. Nicholle Debbas plays the beautiful Belle and does a great job of bringing to life the familiar Disney character–you almost feel like you are watching the movie as you watch her on the stage. Tommie Hill as the Beast does an excellent job of portraying not only the Beast side of his character, but also the sad and lonely prince inside. Jeff Lusk is hilarious as the arrogant Gaston. All of the servants/slash objects–Lumiere (Erik Valencia), Cogsworth (George Akina), Babette (Stacey Hall), Madame De La Grande Bouche (Tidy Gill), Mrs. Potts (Marianne McFarlin), and Chip (Kyndall Murray), all do a fun job of bringing those characters to life. Erik and George are especially funny.
This is one time I almost enjoyed the cast songs the most–such as “Be Our Guest.” For one because they are so much fun, but also because everyone sounded so beautiful together. So if you are looking for a fun Disney musical adventure this December, this is definitely another show not to miss, plus it’s family friendly. After the show all the little girls in their princess dresses crowded around Belle.
In a different twist for RCTC, Belle understudy Jessica Ham (which many of you may remember from past RCTC shows, most recently as Judy Garland in Legends), will be playing the role of Belle on December 15, 16, 19 and 20. I am confident Jessica will do an equally wonderful job as Belle–so much so that I encourage everyone to do like I’m doing and see the show twice! Both of these young ladies are awesome performers!
For this show, RCTC is having extra performances so you have more choices than usual–though the show is selling out fast.
When: Performance Dates 2012: November 30 and December 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22
Where: Reedley Opera House, 1720 10th Street, Reedley, CA
Price: Sundays at 2 p.m. and Thursdays at 8 p.m. – $20 (dessert available for purchase)
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. – $25 (includes dessert)
Dinner and Show – $38 (dinner served Fridays and Saturdays, reservation required)
Phone: (559) 638-6500 or toll free (866) 977-6500
There’s so much great theatre going on this month and KRL will be at most of it, so keep watching for more reviews! And plan on a theatre filled holiday because you’re not going to want to miss any of it. Check out our reviews up already of Beehive and Dad’s Christmas Miracle and Ordinary Days.