Beauty and the Beast – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

In a tiny town, meet the beautiful lass Belle who loves books and reading about adventures, mystery and romance more than anything or anyone in her life, with the possible exception of her father Maurice who loves to create inventions that may or may not ever work. Little does Belle realize that she will soon face and encounter all the elements of her precious books in her own life.

Come open the fairy tale book that features this sweet maiden and the monster who frightens the little village where she lives.
As fairy tales go, “Beauty and the Beast” is one of the enchanted best. Belle, a luminous Melanie Martyn, is a lovely miss who would enjoy reading her precious books from dawn to dusk, as long as she doesn’t have to fend off the affections of the vain and egotistical Gaston, the epitome of vanity Scott A. Towers, who imagines himself to be a desirable gift to womankind, with his helpful sidekick LeFou, Robert Peterpaul, as his most faithful fan.

Meanwhile in a castle in the forest, an enchantress, Kiersten Bjork, for displeasing her, has cast a handsome prince into a hideous beast. Only a love that is pure and true can release him from his spell, and only before the last petal falls from a bewitched rose. Time is running out and he and his household will be cursed for all eternity. The Beast is cloaked in the persona of Dan Frye.

Enter the fascinating musical and magical world of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” waltzing into the Legacy Theatre in Branford until Sunday, August 27, with book by Linda Woolverton, music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Follow the brave heroine Belle hoping to rescue her father Maurice, David Bell, who after getting lost in the woods, sought shelter at the castle of the Beast and becomes his prisoner. The angry Beast, who guards his privacy, locks her father in a dungeon.

Belle discovers the castle and a troop of unlikely helpers in Lumiere the candelabra, Niko Charney, Mrs. Potts the teapot, Susan Kulp, her son Chip the teacup, Patrick Clifford, Madame de la Grande Bouche, Nia Alsop, Cogsworth the clock, Josiah Rowe, and Babette, Bella Pacheco Rarick, who all add a special charm to the story. To free her father, Belle offers to stay in the castle with the Beast if he will just let her father go home. In a wild adventure, Belle and her father escape, Gaston and the villagers attack the castle, the Beast is grievously wounded and Belle learns the meaning of true love.

For tickets, call for availability to the Legacy Theatre, 128 Thimble Island Road, Branford, at 203-315-1901 or online at, Performances are Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Discover for yourself how the magic spell is broken, how the enchanted objects become human again and how “happily ever after” is the way all fairy tales are supposed to end. Treat yourself and your family to this wonderful “tale as old as time,” directed with affection and kindness by Keely Baisden Knudsen.