Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
"Don't be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within." This is the eloquent message of the Enchantress to the Prince, as she reveals herself to be a beautiful young woman and not the old hag she appeared to be. Luckily for audience members at Osbourn High School's Beauty and the Beast, beauty is found both within and out, as astonishing designs and heartfelt music joined together to form a wholehearted production.
Beauty and the Beast, a touching love story, is well known by audiences as the 1991 award-winning Disney film, originally based on the French fairy tale of the same name by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. It was adapted for the stage in 1994 by Alan Menken, Tim Rice, and Howard Ashman, and played on Broadway for 13 years. The story follows an unkind prince who is turned into a hideous beast as punishment for his selfishness. The Beast can only become human again after he understands true love and turns to Belle, a young woman he has imprisoned in his castle, for the answers.
In Beauty and the Beast, the Beast must undergo not only a drastic physical transformation but also an emotional one. Steven Moran portrayed this change phenomenally as he moved from a cruel, hardened bully, to a kind, caring leader who wanted nothing more than love. His transition across this threshold of selfishness was clear in his expressions and movements, as he became softer and more compassionate as the show progressed. Moran undoubtedly took on the titular role with nothing but beastly ambition.
The Beast's counterpart, Belle, was the embodiment of elegance and, hence the name, beauty. Izzie Lucas as Belle provided more than just a beautiful appearance, however, but also a beautiful voice. Throughout the show, in songs like "Home" and "A Change in Me," her smooth voice resonated throughout the theatre and provides a wonderful vehicle for her character's emotions.
Providing humor and support to Belle and the Beast's burgeoning relationship were Charlotte Thomas as Lumiere and Ben Counts as Gaston. Thomas had the audience in hysterics during her interactions with Babette (Megan Reed) and happily danced with utensils and plates in audience favorite "Be our Guest," doing nothing less than lighting up the production. Counts brought laughter too, with his haughty mannerisms and actions, and finalized his handsome appeal with a powerful voice. To top it all off, Jordan Drake as Lefou popped in for some slapstick humor reminiscent of The Three Stooges, providing comedy in addition to the love story.
What sealed the deal on the impressive production, was the true-to-the-time tech elements. As the story takes place in 17th-century France, the atmosphere must be that of the time period. The set (Ben Counts, Charlotte Thomas, Emma Mattick, and the Osbourn Tech Squad) consisting of sliding castle doorways, intricately painted stone walls, and two enormous curved stairways, left no doubt of when the story happens. Furthermore, the costumes (Juliana Misas-Segovia, Charlotte Thomas, and Jordan Drake), met the time constraints with basic 17th century dresses for women, and suits for men. However, it is with the costumes of the "Be Our Guest" Ensemble where the audience was truly blown away. Complete with everything from dancing forks to a living clock, the costume department exceeded all expectations with their historical accuracy and creativity, while still making costumes comfortable enough for actors to dance in.
Ultimately, the energy behind Osbourn High School's Beauty and the Beast, along with the extravagant costumes and elegant set, left the audience in tears and laughter alike, as the heart-wrenching tale unfolded before them.
Hayfield Secondary School
If you need a relaxing night and want to see a hilarious show, "Be our Guest" and come see Osbourn High School's production of Beauty and the Beast. It's the story of a young girl, Belle, and her adventure as she encounters a monstrous beast and sacrifices everything for her father's freedom. With energy off the charts, and costumes beyond comparison, Osbourn recreated the childhood movie that many have come to know, with dedication and hard work.
Originating from the 1991 animated film to its 1994 Broadway adaptation, the Beauty and the Beast explores the world of adventure and magic that amazes the audience. Performed with actors costumed as inanimate objects, the story takes the audience into a world like no other and ignites the sense of hope on Belle's treacherous task. Osbourn's recreation of the show is no different.
As the central character of the performance, Belle, portrayed by Izzie Lucas, brought a sweet and courageous girl onto the stage. She created moments of despair across with her silky-smooth vocals, but within minutes could brighten the entire stage. Paired with her counterpart Gaston, played by Ben Counts, they formed a playful and sarcastic bond between woman and man. Counts recreated the animated character and astounded the audience with his delightful, yet manly, vocals in "Gaston" and "Me." Partnered with his trusty sidekick Lefou, portrayed by Jordan Drake, Counts and Drake create an iconic duo that no one could forget.
With an unmatched physicality, exuberant facial and vocal expressions, and a radiant energy, Drake stole the spotlight from the show with his foolish antics and comical expressions as he brought Lefou to life. Presenting a wild and unmaintained Lefou, Drake went beyond everyone's expectations by adding comical elements in every one of his scenes. His physicality mirrored the phrase "go big or go home," and when Jordan was on stage, not a single audience member would want to go home.
Additionally, a few technical aspects of Osbourn's performance brought the magic of the story to life. Complex costumes such as Cogsworth, a humanoid clock, ultimately created the magic of the curse. The attention to detail within each costume was astounding. One last aspect of the show that truly amazed the audience was the orchestra. They beautifully reproduced each of the songs within the show and produced harmonies that were nearly professional.
Osbourn High School's performance of Beauty and the Beast was simply jaw dropping, transforming a beloved animated film into its own live musical. With an amazing work ethic and out-worldly dedication to the show, they constructed "A tale as old as time."