Beauty and the Beast - South Lakes High School - Reston, Virginia - May 6, 2017
Montgomery Blair High School
A story loved around the world, Beauty and the Beast continues to be a sweet tale of love and sacrifice, and South Lakes' performance was enchanting.
The show revolves around young Margarita Gamarnik's sparkling performance as Belle as she combines a crystal-clear voice with an innocent charm. She turns down the village hunk with disgust, sacrifices her freedom for her father, and falls in love in the most unlikely of circumstances. With such a strong base for a show, the whole production was set for success.
Teddy Huffer plays Gaston, who somehow believes he's in love with the bookworm that is Belle, and works with his buddy Lefou, portrayed by Dominique Kalunga, to try to scheme his way into Belle's affection. Huffer and Kalunga have a hearty synergy on stage. During the ego-feeding song Gaston, the choreography between the two was simply fantastic. Kalunga was airborne multiple times as Huffer would lift her off the ground and spin her or throw her into the air. There was such high energy displayed by everyone dancing, every ensemble member had a moment to really stand out.
The leads are supported by an equally exquisite group of performers. Jalen Robinson as Lumiere playing against Evan Zimmerman as Cogsworth created one of the most loveable and hilarious pairs to take to the stage. Their dynamic was whimsical and had the audience in stitches. While Robinson gave a spectacular performance of Be Our Guest, Zimmerman gave the audience a very relatable look of lament as he leaned his face into a pillar.
The true peak of the show, though, was the classic song Tale as Old as Time, performed by Mely Megahed as Mrs. Potts. She tackled every high note with poise and unadulterated talent while maintaining a classy British accent. As the melodic tune played, Gamarnik had a heartwarming waltz with Mandip Bhadra as the Beast that had everyone in the audience smiling.
At times the microphones would cut out for various actors, but they sang and danced through it to compensate wonderfully. The sets soar, using the space on the stage effectively. Intricately painted to have shadows among the bricks of the castle and beautiful forests, it creates a feeling of immersion for the audience.
South Lakes embraced the charm and whimsy of this Disney tale and put on a production that would make the most beastly of people smile and laugh along.
Stone Bridge High School
With a magic rose, a cursed castle, and a talented cast and crew, South Lakes High School put on a production of Beauty and the Beast that brought new life to a classic story.
Beauty and the Beast is based on the traditional French fairytale written by French writer Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneave, originally published in 1740. In 1991 the classic story spread worldwide when the Disney film was released. The musical production of Beauty and the Beast premiered on April 18, 1994. This fresh musical was developed for the stage with lyrics from Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.
Beauty and the Beast follows a young, beautiful peasant girl named Belle on her journey to find herself and to find love. Belle feels outcast by her small French village because of her intelligence and her strange, inventing father, Maurice. She trades her freedom to save her father and begins living with a cursed prince who has been turned into a beast. As she starts to develop feelings for him, she begins to know more of the enchanted objects in the castle, all while dodging the beefy and violent Gaston's marriage proposals.
The relationship between Beast and Belle was integral to the show. Thanks to the talents of Mandip Bhadra and Margarita Gamarnik, the love story was beautiful and successful. Bhadra perfectly conveyed Beast's desperate longing for Belle and regret through his emotional and vocally impressive rendition of "If I Can't Love Her". Gamarnik ably portrayed Belle's Pollyanna-esque personality along with Belle's determination and bravery. Not only did Gamarnik have a beautiful voice, but she stayed in character in every situation and brought to life the traditional character of Belle. Bhadra and Gamarnik most effectively developed their character's relationship in "Beauty and the Beast". This number was made excellent not only by the acting and passionate waltz between Beauty and Beast, but by the awe-inspiring vocals of Mely Megahed as she played the compassionate Mrs. Potts flawlessly.
From the moment the show opened, with the soft strains of "Beauty and the Beast" that stirred nostalgia in all who watched, the orchestra played impeccably and added to both the sentimental and hilarious numbers. While sometimes the orchestra overpowered the actors, overall the orchestra beautifully played the timeless music.
South Lakes High School put on this "tale as old as time" beautifully through the work of the talented actors and musicians involved.