Beauty & the Beast – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Light up your summer with the masterful and magical tale of one young girl and her adventurous journey of discovery.

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 Ella Raymont, is a lovely lass 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, Jordan Goodsell, the tower of vanity, who imagines himself to be a desirable gift to womankind. How could Belle refuse his proposal (really a demand) of marriage?

Meanwhile in a castle in the forest, an enchantress, 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 a fierce Shafiq Hicks, who is angry at his fate and takes his displeasure out on everyone in his employ, including LeFou, Malcolm Durning, Babette, Alexandra Pouloutides, Madame de le Grande Bouche, Gina Hanzlik,and Monsieur D’Arque, Graham Mortier.

Enter the fascinating musical and magical world of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” waltzing into the Summer Theatre of New Canaan until Sunday, July 30. Performances will be in the air conditioned auditorium of the New Canaan High School, 11 Farm Road, New Canaan. With music by Alan Menken, book by Linda Woolverton and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, this is a performance this is spectacular and splendid for the whole family to enjoy. It could easily be the highlight of your whole summer season!

Follow the brave heroine Belle hoping to rescue her father Maurice, Howard Pinhasiky, who, after getting lost in the woods, foolishly and innocently seeks shelter at the castle of the Beast and becomes his prisoner. The angry Beast, who guards his privacy, locks her father, an inventor, in a dungeon.

Belle discovers the castle and a troop of unlikely helpers in Lumiere the candelabra, Stephen Petrovich, Mrs. Potts the teapot, Raissa Katona Bennett, her son Chip the teacup, Carlos Valaquez Escamilla and Cogsworth the clock, Brian Silliman. 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, go online to Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The entire cast is tremendous, the story is wonderful, the costumes-all 200 of them-are fantastic, and the giant castle actually revolves. What more could you desire?

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…and this one does in spectacular fashion.