It’s a “Tale as old as Time” for the December 8 stage premier of Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at Casa 0101 Theater in Los Angeles, CA.
Attending Friday evenings opening with minimal expectations other than having seen the 1991 animated film and Disney’s live-action movie version back in March of this year—assuming the stage production would be your normal repeat of the same story…but it didn’t turn out that way. Friday evening’s opening night was not just an enjoyable trip down memory lane of Disney’s Broadway show—it’s the diversity of the main characters that make up the production.
With main characters that include; Andrea Somera as Belle, Omar Mata as the Beast, Jesse Maldonado as the prince transformed, Andreas Pantazis as Gaston, Maxwell Peters as LeFou, Luis Marquez as Maurice, Jacquelin Schofield as Mrs. Potts, Noah Dobson as Chip, Rosa Navarrete as feather duster Babette, Caleb Green as Lumiere, Jeremy Saje as Cogsworth and Allison Flanagan as the wardrobe.
With an ensemble cast of twenty-five actors under the direction of Rigo Tejeda, musical direction by Caroline Benzon and choreography by Lia Metz have gone above and beyond in assembling a classic story into a Broadway musical production in Boyle Heights that is worth the price of admission.
24-year-old actress Andrea Somera of Philippine heritage sang familiar songs from the musical score created by Alan Menken, Tim Rice and Howard Ashman. Somera’s vocal performance resembles that of Lea Salonga—the original singing voice of Disney characters; Jasmine, Mulan and Pocahontas.
The booming baritone sound and strapping performance of Andreas Pantazis fits perfectly as the character Gaston, as well as his sidekick, performed by Maxwell Peters—also of Philippine decent did a charming job capturing the kooky slapstick character of LeFou.
Actress Jacquelin Schofield is of African-American decent hailing from Brooklyn, NY did an impressive job portraying Mrs. Potts with a solo singing performance of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ for the ballroom scene.
Omar Mata, a second generation Mexican-American who’s singing talent deserves praise for a quality performance in his portrayal of the Beast. As well as kudos to the rest of the cast putting forth a terrific Broadway performance that brought back fond memories on stage of such songs as; “Beauty and the Beast”, “Belle”, “Be Our Guest” and “Gaston”—including a few new songs such as; “Human Again”, “If I Can’t Love Her” and “Maison des Lunes”.
‘Beauty and the Beast’ will run for six-weeks from December 8, 2017 through January 21, 2018 at Casa 0101 Theater’s Main Stage. 2102 E. 1st Street, Boyle Heights, CA 90033. Phone: (323) 263-7684
Fridays at 8:00 p.m.,
Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sundays at 4:00 p.m.
To learn more about Casa 0101 Theater or for ticket information visit website: www.casa0101.org