Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Beauty and the Beast

Photo: David Kinder

Northwest Children's Theatre
November 30 - December 30, 2007

Show description:

Disney's “Beauty and the Beast” returns to NWCT this
holiday season. This is the classic “tale as old as
time” where boy meets girl. Boy is cursed. Boy almost
loses girl to other boy who loves himself a little too
much. Boy kills other boy by throwing him out window.


Bruce said...

The Enchanteds are Truly enchanting this year. The newly designed costumes are worth the ticket alone.
Those cast members that have returned in the same roles as last year have taken it to a new level. Corey is relaxed and wonderful in every way. Sherilyn is delightful to watch as "Babette" flits about the stage. Kristi will always bring a tear to my eye withher AMAZING voice! I miss the old Gaston but enjoyed the friendly Beast. And James certainly gives a timely performance.
Some the timing should be looked at by Gaston and LeFeu (sp). Relax and have more fun but don't run over the comic moments.
The audience enjoyed being your guests!
Bravo to all of you!!

Anonymous said...

Dreadful with a capital D. So bad it was laughable. No business charging that much for a ticket. I have seen High School and Middle School shows that were better than this.

....before you all get up in arms. The kids are wonderful and I love kids learning theatre but this was in no way a professional production. A Directionless hodge podge of chaos.

Beauty, Beast and Cogsworth were tolerable-- everyone else was a community theatre hack. Painful and embarressing to watch.

Anonymous said...

Come on! How could you not like this show! The Oregonian loved it, and the daily sold-out audiences love it! They have even added two shows due to the huge audience demand. When I went, the show received a standing ovation. If you don't like this show, what shows do you like for families? Are the $50.00 tickets at PCS more in line with what you are looking for?

There are some of the best actors and voices in town in this show. To call Isaac Lamb and James Peppers "tolerable" is arrogant beyond belief!

I know you don't like this show, so what family theatre do you like?

I read your comment again. You didn't even say what you didn't like. Why don't you come clean and let us know what ax you have to grind, because your comments make no sense.

Beauty and the Beast is without a doubt one of the best family shows in town, and the huge sold-out audiences speak for themselves!

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a well-produced show, very polished. However, I grew bored very quickly. Perhaps because the story is so familiar? Sets and costumes were astounding.

Anonymous said...

The Good:
Sets and costumes are a HUGE improvement over last year. Absolutely gorgeous.

The leads all seem to be having a great time and their enthusiasm is infectious.

The Not So Good:
The choreography, or lack of it. Be Our Guest starts off okay with Corey Brunish singing in front of that pretty silver curtain, and then the remaining 5 minutes of the number just sit there lifeless. Why not get someone who can actually give the chorus something to do besides walk across the stage?

Projection. Is this still taught? I was shocked during the big group numbers (especially Be Our Guest and the Finale) when they have about 30 people onstage and it sounds like maybe 5 or 6 people are singing. What's up with that?

These problems are easily fixable, though. Hire a choreogrpaher who actually choreographs and hire singers who can project past the first row. Then tighten some of the pacing (especially the middle of the first act) and they'd be well on their way to having a show that really deserves to sell as well as this has.

Anonymous said...

This is anon 12/26 again. I am responding to anon 12/27 10:37 am-

I have no axe to grind. I am simply stating what everyone who knows theatre can see plainly on the stage.

The sets are over built. They are trying to give a million dollar spectacle on a 20,000$ budget. The stage is cramped the ridiculous drops leave them no where to go except back and forth. The entrances and exits from the house were not utilized nearly enough.

There is no need to get personal. I am not "ignorant" as you so blithely assert. The Beast was barely audible even with his mic. Yes, he was committed BUT the lack of vocal energy coming from his mouth was irritating and made it difficult to hear never mind the fact that the lack of weight in his voice generally made him boring.

Cogsworth by contarst yelled his lines at everyone. He didn't listen to anyone on stage with him YET he was more tolerable to watch than the other hackneyed mess going on around him.

Belle, was the best part of the show actually. A fine clear voice and the ability hold focus and an understanding of how her phyiscal energy can be used on stage.

The show was mediocre and poor. That is a fact. It doesn't matter what one person at The Oregonian said about a show first off --
However, you are correct the only "critic" a theatre company really needs to listen to is the paying customer. So, yes I am glad that NWCT is making bank on this show- that's great. That doesn't mean, however, that the show is good. In fact, other than some things at another company I don't need to mention this is the worst show I have ever seen on a Portland stage.

Anonymous said...

I think you do need to mention the other company.

I have no idea who you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Oh, give me a break! Consider yourself extremely lucky if this is truly the worst show you have EVER seen on a Portland stage. Have you seen some of the other youth theatre companies in town? Are you perhaps affiliated with one of them? I am having trouble figuring out what you are talking about if you see a lot of theatre in town, including youth theatre. What are some of the youth theatre productions in town that think have been BETTER than Beauty?

Anonymous said...

Right- you have no idea who I am talking about b/c I don't want you too. It isn't neccessary to mention the other company--this is about the work at NWCT.

I'm not going to get baited into an argument with you over my opinion which I am completely allowed to have and express -just as you are.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:57;7:41

Sorry. I misunderstood you. When you said "company I don't need to mention" I thought you meant that we knew who you meant so you didn't need to mention it.

If you meant to leave it as a mystery, that's fine with me. And I certainly never meant to say you weren't allowed to express your opinion.

Anon 5:24

Anonymous said...

Look, I LOVE NWCT. I love all of the youth companies in town as well as most of the rest of what's in town. I just don't think this show was any good. And I have lots of friends in it. We just disagree-it needn't be such a personal affront to you.

Anonymous said...

While I do not necessarily agree with the previous posters' comments, I think they have a valid point that one's criticism of a show shouldn't provoke such personal judgments and attacks.

Al said...

I don't believe that anybody has accused you of not being allowed an opinion. Certaintly you are allowed to express your opinion, that's what we're here for.

Anon 12/26 - Although you may have disliked the show, I do not think it was embarrasing, or the worst show ever. Many of the actors in the show are excellent. I do recognize that there were some problems as well, however.

The show is great for many ages, and I recommend seeing it before it's done!

Say hi to your friends in the cast for me!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12-26,
You do have the right to say what you want about this production but why not let your friends know who you are? If you feel so strongly about what you say then add you name and let your friends discuss your issues with you.

Anonymous said...

Ok- this ridiculousness about wanting people to sign their names has GOT TO STOP. It is absurd. Did you notice that there were NO posts for the whole time anonymous posts weren't allowed. That's b/c this community is far too small and you CAN'T be honest in the way this blog requires if you have to put your real name on the thing. We all see shows ALL the time our friends are in and we don't think are good--that's the way it is.

So really, knock it off. If I start making offensive personal attacks then by all means get upset. Until then quit taking it so personally that I didn't like the show you were in-hell you've probably seen stuff I was in and hated it too. So, stop. Anonymous posting is the only was 99% of folks are gonna even bother posting on this site.

You just disagree with my opinion and that's ok with me, It is obviously not cool with you but quit trying to callout folks as "bad", or "arrogant" b/c they disagree with you. We don't want people like you confronting us in public b/c of our opinions. That's why we post anonymously and that's the only way we ever will.

David Millstone said...

If contributors would aim for the same kind of well-chosen specificity and economy in their prose as one hopes they aim for in their stage work, then much of the animosity of these threads would be diluted. The animosity here is like an opportunistic virus, clinging to flabby hyperbole and weak argument. I have a hard time believing that SO many of us appear to have the kind of mood disorders that all these wild posts suggest. But, of course, it's been night-time all day for a few weeks now. Maybe everyone just needs a little sunshine. I know I do (I'm actually looking forward to getting back to Houston....)

Anonymous said...

Why is it that all the children's theaters are being bashed so harshly? (Including Blue Monkey). They're kids...lighten up.

Anonymous said...

I saw it last year and wasn't expecting much at all. I left with a smile on my face. You proved me wrong NWCT! The only flaws: The young chorus (though it is Northwest CHILDRENS Theater) at least maybe teenager age...some of the kids just looked pretty out of place. This Gaston and Lefou is in no way comparison to last years duo, with Issac Lamb in the role of Gaston. Seeing him as Beast just shows his diversty at talent even more. Why can't you duplicate yourself, Issac? But over all incredable, show. The adult leads were such an excellent combonation. Beautiful set (as aposed to the unpainted set last year) beautiful costumes, and lovely singing. Kudos NWCT!

Anonymous said...

I could see by the faces of the kids what a magical experience it was for them and such a heartfelt message. The young boys were really into the play which was great.

All of you are doing such a service to the whole of society when you do a play like this.

Anonymous said...

They packed the theater and the children were truly enchanted. I loved watching the boys and girls talking to Beauty and Beast / Prince after the show. Their faces said it all! This show is a hit in Portland for a reason. Terrific cast and lots of energy even after many shows. It did seem odd to see children acting drunk in the pub scene - could use older teens at least? Lefou and Gaston had more chemistry last year. Lumiere and Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, little Chip, Babette, you were all a treat. Mr. Lamb - your talent and heart made it all work. Thank you NWCT for this wonderful show.

Anonymous said...

There is a mystical thing that happens in the audience of a theatre.
It explains, I believe, why viewers can have such a disperate reaction to the same piece.
It is this:
At some point, there accumulates a level of mass hypnosis, which can make believers out of the jaded.
This is why, when one attends a show which one is aware in the viewing, that one is not all that fond of, one can depart the theatre and nonetheless ruminate oneself into a place of appreciation for the experience.
The only two explanations then for a profoundly contrary reaction to a show that others have enjoyed and enjoyed to the "extreme" shall we say are these:
1. The viewer in question was simply not susceptible to the mass hypnosis.
2. The magic simply did not occur on that particular night.*
* It is common lore that even the most successful of shows has that odd night when the audience, as a whole simply does not respond -- even though all those before and after have, and continue to react in the established and therefore predicatable way.
In sum, let us therefore accept that the cynics among us exist, they are correct in their eyes and that is that.
That is the way it is.
Their truth is true for them.
It may or may not in fact have any relation to the experience you and others may have had at the very same show.
As the song sez: Let it be.
The love you take is equal to the love you make....

Anonymous said...

"All of you are doing such a service to the whole of society when you do a play like this."

I'm curious. Are you applauding the courage and artistic risk that NWCT has shown by remounting such an overblown Disney cash cow?

Or is it the spirit of altruism and generosity they demonstrate in charging a ticket price well beyond the means of most Portland families?

I don't begrudge a theater company making some money once in a while, but I hardly think they deserve a humanitarian award for it.

I have to assume this poster's daughter really enjoyed her turn as a dancing napkin.

Anonymous said...

Well, you certainly sound like you begrudge this theatre company! Give me a break, if audiences are loving the show, they certainly have the right to say so! As for price, NWCT charges less than the other Children's Theatres in town.

So what if my daughter was a great dancing napkin! The show still sold out day after day, and it was loved by young and old alike.

Brenda said...

I believe the statement that NWCT charges less than other children's theaters in town is simply inaccurate. Both NWCT and OCT are quite expensive and they have both raised their ticket prices in the last year or so.

I agree with the previous poster's message (if not her tone). We don't thank a Broadway touring show for being civic minded just because thousands of people bought expensive tickets and the show sold out. That's not what serving the community means.

Now that NWCT is under new artistic leadership, many of us have been waiting to see if it will move in a new direction. One perhaps towards more more challenging work, ethnic diversity and accessibility. Whatever happened to the sign interpreted shows, NWCT?

Sadly, this change hasn't happened yet, but it would be great to see them, as the largest children's theater in the city, take more of a leadership position in this. When and if that happens, there will definitely be something there worth praising.

Anonymous said...

Which theater companies in particular are you referring to?

Both Blue Monkey and Oregon Children's Theater generally charge less for their productions.

Anonymous said...

A quick look at the theaters' websites shows that NWCT charges $16 to $20 for most productions (with the winter show usually being $18 to $22), OCT charges $13 to $24 for all shows and Blue Monkey charges $16 to $20 for most productions (with Night of the Living Dead being $12). So I think it's safe to say all three are pretty even as far as cost goes.

I've attended shows at all of these companies over the past few years and as far as I can remember it's been at least two years (possibly more) since NWCT or OCT has raised their prices. And I believe it was only by $2.

As for sign-interpreted shows, NWCT hasn't had them in at least 5 years, so that isn't something that got lost in the Monteverde-Hardy changeover.

I do agree, though, that it would be nice if NWCT could do some more challenging stuff. I think one problem may be that their core audience is families with younger children and they have a large theater to fill. Almost every time they've done something "edgier," or even simply more "teen-oriented," they have a veyr hard time selling enough tickets (and that's including the Monteverde years). It would definitely be nice if, in addition to their mainstage, they had a small space to work in where they wouldn't have to focus so much on how many seats they have to sell and could do some really interesting work. From seeing the stuff she's directed at Vertigo and defunkt, Sarah Jane Hardy is clearly willing and able to handle more non-traditional forms of theater, perhaps she's held back by the space she has to work with.

Anonymous said...