April 7, 2008
Beauty and the Beast at Upper Dublin High School
Theater: Upper Dublin High School
Show Title: Beauty and the Beast
Seen: April 4, 2008
Reviewer: Rachel Bussom
The lights dim, and a single voice fills the auditorium as it describes the
story of a doomed prince, an enchantress in disguise, and a single rose.
Suddenly, the lights brighten onto a quaint French village. Thus began Upper
Dublin High School's recent production of Beauty and the Beast.
Originally performed in 1993, Beauty and the Beast depicts the struggle to
conquer first impressions, as Belle and the Beast must learn to love one
another before the rose runs out of petals. Beauty and the Beast is
Broadway's sixth-longest running show, running for over 5,400 performances.
The cast's energy was apparent throughout the entire show, bringing life and
soul to an already beautiful musical. No matter whether the scene was about
the town, the castle, and the woods, they never faltered in bringing the
show's true meaning into the open.
As Belle, Samantha Riesenberg perfectly portrayed her character's change
from a frightened girl to a young woman who finally got the adventure she
was searching for. Sam Long beautifully illustrated the Beast's grief with
flashes of hope during the whole production. Countering them was Gaston,
played by Ryan Platt. He was absolutely perfect as the narcissistic villain
who will do anything to get what he wants. All three had brilliant facial
expressions and body language, as well as stirring voices, which added
another layer to the show.
Lumiere (Ryan Zatcoff), Cogsworth (Daniel Tepper), Mrs. Potts (Noelle
Lyles), Babette (Dana Marcolina), and Madame de la Grande Bouche (Regina
Ferguson) came together magnificently as the enchanted "people" of the
castle. Their frustration was accurately portrayed as they tried to get
their Master to be kind to Belle, who was their only hope of escaping the
transformation. Zatcoff and Tepper were hilarious as their characters
competed with one another in all aspects possible.
The props crew, led by Dana Marcolina, did a superb job of getting the exact
props needed by this demanding show. There was not one object that looked
out of place in the town and enchanted castle. The stage crew, led by Jonah
Stella, kept up with the fast-paced performance, even with the many set
pieces and scene changes.
Beauty and the Beast is definitely not the easiest show to put together, but
Upper Dublin High School put on a near perfect performance. From start to
finish, the show just screamed, "be our guest!"
by Rachel Bussom of East High School