Tale as Old as Time: Beauty And The Beast at TBTS


The smash Disney musical Beauty And The Beast will charm audiences at Theatre By The Sea (TBTS) beginning July 19. The Broadway production was nominated for nine 1994 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and won London’s Olivier Award for Best Musical, and it is the tenth longest running show in Broadway history. The score, by Alan Menken, Tim Rice and the late Howard Ashman, features such memorable songs as “Be Our Guest,” “Belle” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

The show is being brought to life by director Bob Richard and his wife, choreographer Diane Laurenson. The couple worked on last season’s West Side Story at TBTS. Richard has been a huge fan of the story and is excited to present his take on the classic. “I’ve seen as many versions and read as many versions (of the story) as I could get my hands on,” said Richard. “I’m not trying to do a cookie cutter version of anybody else’s.”

The cast features Lauren Weinberg as Belle and Philip Bryan as the Beast. The cast will also feature Stacey Greer (Madame de la Grande Bouche), Jeffrey Johnson II (Cogsworth), Josh Houghton (Lumiere), Wayne Hu (Gaston), Melissa Jones (Babette), Ellen Peterson (Mrs. Potts), Josh Walker (Lefou) and Thom Warren (Maurice).

Ten-year-old Reid Taylor, who plays Chip, is making his debut at TBTS. The actor recently appeared in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Trinity Repertory Company. Taylor, who is a huge fan of the recent movie starring Emma Watson, has greatly enjoyed working on the production. “I got to connect with a lot of the actors,” Taylor said. “The director is amazing, the musical director is also amazing. Just an amazing cast and crew.”

Laurenson notes the production will be special due to the personalities of the cast. “They bring an entirely different spin to their characters in the story,” Laurenson said.

Richard was intrigued by the three main characters in the show: the charming heroine Belle, the menacing and misunderstood Beast, and the villainous Gaston. “She has a journey and an arc all the way to the end,” Richard said of Belle.

Belle allows the audience to see the person inside the Beast, Richard added: “He actually has the heart and the love and the passion and the joy inside of him that she allows to transform and grow.”

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST runs July 19 thru August 12. Performances are Tuesdays through Sundays. Performance times vary week to week, check the TBTS website for exact dates and show times. Tickets are available to purchase by phone 401-782-8587, online at theatrebythesea.com, or in person at 364 Cards Pond Road, Wakefield.

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