Friday, October 14

Theater Review: Broadway Across America Beauty and the Beast

Broadway Across America brings Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" to the stage at Clowes Memorial Hall, Indianapolis, this week. Little girls in attendance were in ribbons, patent leather shoes and their prettiest Belle gown or pink frock with the young lads sporting similar style as parents and children came in anticipation of a bigger-than-life story.

Emily Behny as Belle, seems a little lost in the show's beginning, gaining confidence in the second act with her vocals growing stronger, most notably in "A Change in Me." Her strongest trait, compassion, shows during the reading aloud to Beast, portrayed by Dane Agostinis, in the library and the dinner table scenes.

The highly anticipated "Be Our Guest" music and dance scene not only did not disappoint, it was the highlight of the evening. The excellent choreography by Matt West brings dishes, silverware and condiments to life, including Radio City Music Hall's Rockettes-style moves to the delight of parents and children.

Photo by Joan Marcus
Noteworthy, also, are two side characters. Michael Haller turns in the most solid performance of the cast as Lumiere the candelabra. Jordan Moore was delightful as Chip the teacup.

Make note that although "Beauty and the Beast" is considered a children's program, there are two points which may make even broad-minded parents uncomfortable. First, the feather duster, Babbette, bends over seductively, calling out Lumierre's name in an attempt to attract his attention. Second, Madame de la Grande Bouche pulls a silver flask, yes I said flask, out of the bosom of her dress and takes a few swigs of what we are to assume is alcohol.

The remainder of the program is kid-friendly offering a fun introduction for first-time theater attendees. I recommend sitting in the first ten rows in order to get the full measure of the streamers and special effects.

Bottom Line: Broadway Across America brings Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" to Indianapolis with flash, Champagne and dancing dishes.

For tickets and schedule, visit BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGO and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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