Disney’s show is hands down one of Music Theater West’s best – Cache Valley Daily

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Local actor Parker Beus appears as the enchanted prince in Music Theater West’s ongoing production of “Beauty and the Beast” at the Ellen Eccles Theater in downtown Logan.

LOGAN – Once in a while, it’s good to swallow your words.

I’m on record as not being a big fan of Disney musicals. But that was before I saw Music Theater West’s current production of The beauty and the Beast.

In a word, it’s sensational.

I guess I can take comfort in the fact that I’m not completely surprised. No one does big, sprawling musicals better than these folks at MTW and this is one of their best.

On top of that, Music Theater West has a sneaky habit of putting on shows that are good enough to change my mind about musicals I was absolutely ready to hate like The music man and Anna.

And they did it again.

The beauty and the Beast is, of course, by far the most popular of The Walt Disney Company’s musicals based on its series of animated features.

I still remember updating the bolt sitting in a multiplex seat in 1991 after hearing the opening bars of the original animated film’s soundtrack. That was all it took for me to decide that The beauty and the Beast wasn’t a cartoon with music like some of Disney’s previous features. It was a full-fledged musical.

And this show is even better now, with half a dozen new tracks added to its original score. In its current form, The beauty and the Beast rocks, especially the lavish production numbers that director Lindsey Kelstrom and choreographer Stephanie White arranged.

Ms. Kelstrom has an almost sinful embarrassment of talent to work with. The show’s opening number reveals that the young director is blessed with a choral ensemble with voices worthy of lead roles in the average community theater production.

The dancing is equally outstanding and the incomparable Jay Richards conducts a magnificent orchestra as usual.

Maya Borrowman is wonderful as Belle. She carries the show effortlessly and her lush voice ranges beautifully from a whisper to belt-filling volumes.

Corn The beauty and the Beast is definitely an ensemble show and Ms. Borrowman is never alone on stage.

Among the standout performers in this cast gem is Brad Baillio, who plays the buffoon Gaston with just the right amount of masculine bravado and recklessness.

Zack Grab is perfect as Enchanted Light, milking Stanton Allen for a laugh as Cogsworth plush shirt.

As Mrs. Potts, Karin Gittins performs the series’ anthem “Beauty and the Beast” in a touching way.

As always, Celeste Baillio is a hoot as Madame Le Gran Bouche.

Last but not least, Ms. Baillio’s costume designs are quite spectacular.

It’s also worth noting that Disney’s appeal and MTW’s reputation drew a nearly sold-out crowd to the Ellen Eccles Theater on the opening night of The beauty and the Beastincluding a large number of young girls in their most beautiful princess dresses.

These young people were among the first to join in the well-deserved standing ovation for the cast and the orchestra.

Considering all of this, I’m happy to swallow my words for The beauty and the Beast.

The hardest part is swallowing them.

Other evening performances of The beauty and the Beast are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Ellen Eccles Theater on March 5, 7, 10, 11, and 12.

Matinee performances of the musical are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on March 5 and 12.





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