Theater Review: Beauty and the Beast

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Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Sept. 24 – 29; Ages 6 and older)
TPAC’s Jackson Hall
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
782-4040 • tpac.org
Show times: Tue – Thu 7:30 p.m., Fri 8 p.m., Sat 2 and 8 p.m.
Tickets: $35 – $80

A true musical masterpiece is on TPAC’s Jackson Hall stage this week with the newly retooled national tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast — and Nashville is the tour’s opening city! This beloved “tale as old as time” comes to vivid life thanks to an exuberant cast. In fact, if you’ve never before taken your child to a professional musical, this version of Beauty and the Beast, complete with a few new directorial strokes, is the perfect introduction!

The beautiful and delightful Hilary Maiberger stars as Belle, and I can’t imagine anyone else playing this role. In a recent interview with Maiberger (read it here), the singer and actress talked about what a dream come true it is to play Belle as Beauty and the Beast is the first musical she saw when she was 10 years old. Her love and passion for the character shine bright on stage. Maiberger gives a flawless performance from start to finish and has a powerfully dynamic vocal range.

Darick Pead as Beast succinctly plays out his character’s internal struggle in this story that’s all about inner beauty and the goodness of someone’s heart. Each of the supporting cast members are amazing as well, including the dapper Tim Rogan (Gaston), the limber Jordan Aragon (Lefou), the comical Hassan Nazari-Robati (Lumiere) and the warm-hearted Kristin Stewart (Mrs. Potts).

A tight orchestra provides a great backdrop to the memorable musical numbers including the title song, “Beauty and the Beast,” as well as the boisterous “Gaston” number and the show-stopping, energetic “Be Our Guest.” In addition, Ann Hould-Ward’s dazzling costumes and Stanley Meyer’s wonderful scenic design create the perfect fairy tale atmosphere on stage.

A perfect family show, Beauty and the Beast is an outstanding start to TPAC’s 2013/14 Broadway series!

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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