Walking into “Beauty and the Beast” at the Hippodrome Tuesday night, I have to admit: My hopes were pretty high. Belle has always been my favorite Disney princess (we share a love of books and an overly trusting nature), and I have fond memories of attending many a touring Broadway musical in Baltimore as a child.
I’m happy to report that I wasn’t disappointed. With the exception of a few too-campy moments, the opulent, swirling show was pure Disney magic. Lumiere and Cogsworth’s diametric dynamic was laugh-out-loud funny, “Be Our Guest” was sufficiently spectacular and Brooke Quintana was a pitch-perfect Belle. And while the show paid delightful homage to the animated original, don’t worry: there was more than enough content to make you glad you didn’t just pop in the DVD. Extended scenes offered additional story-building dialogue, as well as fantastic songs and reprisals—keep an ear out for a particularly funny musical moment between Gaston and LeFou in the first act.
Best of all? The format allowed for considerably more character development of the Beast, played with hilarious energy by Sam Hartley. His personable, contemporary rendering encouraged the audience to root for him to find love with the Beauty—and while I wasn’t wiping a tear from my eye by the musical’s end like the woman behind me, I was certainly more than satisfied as the titular song came to its rousing conclusion.
In short: “Beauty and the Beast” is well worth the trip downtown for families and theater fanatics alike. Get your tickets at www.france-merrickpac.com.