MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Beauty and the Beast is a classic story that goes back to beyond the days of the Brothers Grimm. Disney made the story their own, with an animated musical, a Broadway show and a recent live-action remake. Now the classic story has come to life on the Midland Community Theatre stage.
MCT brings charm and joy to the stage with their production. The musical is a perfect choice for the theater’s 2019 opening show and the cast and crew clearly love what they are doing.
Jenica Maroney does an absolutely phenomenal job as Belle. She brings a charm and poise to the role that really makes her feel like a Disney princess, yet she maintains a spunk and determination that helps make Belle an active and engaging heroine. Her voice is also phenomenal.
As the Beast, Matt Scott gives a wonderful performance. He really shows a softer side to the gruff character, though at times some of his ferocity does get lost. He provides a grounded foil to the eccentricities of the enchanted castle members and makes the audience feel the man beneath the monster.
Brian Gravelle as Cogsworth is fantastic and David Thomas is suave and charming as Lumiere. The two play off each other nicely and create a humorous dynamic.
Mrs. Potts is portrayed by Robyn Werner. She grounds the castle, providing a performance that is warm and reassuring while still holding her own against the more eccentric characters.
Babette and Madame are also wonderful characters. Wendi Guerrero is fun and flirtatious as Babette and garners quite a few laughs. Deb Tilley brings an enthusiasm to Madame that is contagious.
Outside of Maroney, the two standout performers of the cast are Mark Kaufman and Michelle Tate. The duo play Gaston and Lafou respectively. Each character on their own is unique and colorful but together their interactions are absolutely hilarious and incredibly natural. Tate in particular has wonderful characterization, utilizing her facial expressions, voice and body to truly bring Lafou to life.
The technical side of the show is fantastic as well. Costumes are wonderfully exquisite, and the townspeople are quite distinct from the castle occupants. The kitchenware outfits in particular are fantastic, managing to be both eccentric and classy.
All of the castle occupants had at least a flash of gold on their costume, which was a nice touch that helped tie everything together. When Belle emerges in her famous ball gown towards the end of the show, it had the added impact of symbolizing just how far she has come on her journey in the castle.
The Beast’s headpiece was also fantastic. It was very well realized, providing the sense of the monster while still allowing Scott to emote.
Overall, MCT’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” is wonderful and charming. Long-time fans of the musical will be extremely delighted and newcomers will be enchanted by the performance.
“Beauty and the Beast” runs weekends through March 2. Tickets are available now but they are selling out fast so grab them quickly here.