BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
The Broadway Musical, with Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, with Book by Linda Woolverton is a huge undertaking for any little theatre, and the Casa 0101 Theater has not only undertaken it, but has a huge hit on it’s hands. I must say I believe this is the best show I have seen at this theatre and was so thrilled to be a part of the audience. Directed professionally by Rigo Tejeda, with Musical Direction by Caroline Benzon, great Choreography by Lia Metz, with wonderful Costume Design by Abel Alvarado, as well as Set Design by Marco De Leon, with Lighting by Sohail e. Najifi, and Projections by Sheiva Khalily, the show flew by for me. And the first act never felt like almost an hour and a half. There were sound problems as some of the large cast couldn’t be miked and there seemed to be a sort of echo which I suppose I got used to within a few numbers.
Now let me tell you about the cast. I’m in love with Andrea Somera as Belle. Not only has she a gorgeous voice, but her acting is breathtaking... every minute involved in her part. Watch this girl who must be headed for Broadway. Another outstanding performance is that of Gaston, played tongue in huge cheek by Andreas Pantazis... used every card in the deck, again beautifully... every bit as equal in character to the original Broadway actor. His sidekick Maxwell Peters took more falls than Niagara, and did it so wonderfully. Of all the ‘household accessories’ I must give special credit to Jeremy Saje as Cogsworth with his impeccable timing, Caleb Green as the illuminating Lumiere (although I didn’t understand some of his dialogue at times), Allison Flanagan as Madame de la Grande Bouche (some set of pipes in that chest of drawers, and I mean that sincerely because of her talent), Rosa Navarrete as Babette (nothing dusty about her), Noah Dobson as a delightful Chip, and high praise to Jacquelin Schofield for her interpretation of Mrs. Potts (and an absolutely perfect rendition of Beauty and the Beast). Maurice was very well played by Luis Marquez even though he was playing well beyond his age. And where would we be in this show without the Beast... the prince was efficiently played by Jesse Maldonado, while the Beast was played by Omar Mata with such emotion and depth. All of these people could not have made this show complete without the support of the ensemble, and they did such a magnificent job. And what a brilliant idea to have Michael Gallardo join in with Heather Forte and Andrea Ramirez as the Silly Girls. Yes, I was delightfully surprised that I enjoyed this show so much.
The show runs through January 21st and plays Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 4pm. With easy street parking, reservations can be made by calling Casa 101’s Box Office at 323 263-7684, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or online at www.casa0101.org.
PR is by Steve Moyer.
Stan Mazin (8pm, December 30th performance)