Beauty and the Beast at The Rose sets the stage for a “tale as old as time” magical fairytale. A story we all know comes to life appealing to mass audiences and of course, children. This grand scale production directed by Artistic Director Matt Gutschick is what The Rose does so well: children’s shows that capture the attention of little ones and weave believable magic.
Of every production I’ve ever seen of Beauty and the Beast, from high school to Broadway, this is a favorite you don’t want to miss! From massively ornate sets to dazzling special effects, it’s one of the highlights of The Rose season. The tavern during Gaston was one of my favorite scenes, along with the gorgeously gilded ballroom (props to the lighting team,) during “Beauty and the Beast.”
Biannah Peji-Palm as delightful ingenue Belle who though at times is a bit odd, (affectionately a book lover) has the courage and determination to help her father when he wanders into an enchanted castle. With a heart of gold, she takes her father’s place. Although she finds herself out of her element, Belle learns to love the prince who has been transformed into a hideous beast. Peji-Palm’s vocals are clear and bright, especially in the moving number
Jesse Wohlman plays the Beast and his emotive interpretation is one of the best local Beast performances I have seen to date. With ties to both Opera Omaha and the vocal ensemble Resonance, I can see why. His professionalism is unmatched, with those acting chops and robustly beautiful bass-baritone voice, it could carry him to the Met or Broadway stages. “If I Can’t Love Her,” is an emotional ballad wrought with poignancy.
The ensemble is remarkable in their own way, with a talented cast performing all the roles of the townspeople and enchanted objects. Garbed in feathers, the coquettish Babette, played by Carli Tomac, has a fun and flirty chemistry with flamboyantly fabulous Lumiere (Joey Galda.) Emily Hill Geist made for a lavishly glorious wardrobe “diva” as Madame de la Grand Bouche, complete with a grand, operatic voice. Andrew Bryant Brooks as Gaston possesses a strapping bravado with rich baritone vocals. He never once breaks character and plays the lofty villain with aplomb. Kyle Thomas as the comical LeFou was a boisterous sidekick and gave rousing solos during the rendition of “Gaston.”
Company numbers with “flatware entertaining” are a polished spectacle to behold. Unified, creative movement is precise and perfected choreography.
When it comes to the choice of costumes the enchanted objects are masked, signifying their enchantment. It adds an avant garde flair to the production; one you don’t typically see in this Disney musical. Belle’s yellow ballgown is modeled after gorgeous 18th century French fashion and one little girls everywhere aspired to emulate.
One thing I found so charming is that audience participation during the iconic and loved musical numbers is encouraged. A cut-out mug and napkin momento is given to everyone in attendance to use for later. During numbers such as “Gaston,” and “Be Our Guest,” there is plenty of cheers and waving napkins to go around.
Only a few performances left of Beauty and the Beast, so be sure to catch this one before the last petal falls! Performances run through June 25th