|My Review of BATB on the 24th
||[Aug. 2nd, 2007|10:42 pm]
Disney On Broadway
I went and saw Beauty and the Beast on Broadway on Tuesday. The show itself was great, the cast, well...
I wanted to see this show SOO badly, because the last time I saw it, I was only 8 years old, and I didn't remember very much of the show. I DO remember the Palace theatre, however, because it actually had a lobby. This theatre doesn't (It's just WOOSH throught the doors into a little breezeway and WOOSH into the theatre) And now that it's closing on Sunday forever, I needed to see it one last time before that happened.
The show itself was amazing. The staging, the sets, the costumes, the music...all breathtaking. The cast was....okay. I felt like the supporting characters (Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth, Babbette, and Madame Grande Bouche, The Wardrobe) were having more fun than the main cast, with the exception of Gaston. He was having a great time with the audience, and was VERY in tune with his character.
As far as Belle (Annelise van der Pol) and the Beast (Steve Blanchard) go, they were very good for Broadway. They weren't what I was expecting. Annelise was mediocre. I didn't like her as Belle very much. When she was singing, she looked and sounded very angry. I loved her solo ("A Change In Me"), even though she went flat at the beginning of her last note. Her acting I felt was a bit overly dramatic, but I thought she did a good job overall.
Steve Blanchard. Oh, what is there to say about Steve Blanchard? He was very good as the Beast. Because he's been doing the role of the Beast for nearly 8 years, he had the mannerisms down pat. The humor that his role required was very suited for him, I think. He didn't make the humor overly funny, like he was trying for a laugh, he just let it come naturally. His vocals were good, but he took a rock-and-roll vibe to the songs that I didn't like. For example, during "If I Can't Love Her," he was connecting words (Making the phrase "If I can't love her" sound like "If I can't lover.") and putting in weird gracenotes and stuff. I still love him to pieces though.
And Annie, I didn't forget to watch especially well for the transformation scene. I was five rows away from the stage, MUCH closer than I thought I was going to be. I was all the way to the left side, so I could see the lift they attatched to Steve (it was a long pole wrapped in black fabric with a thing that went around his waist). As for the whole transformation, it was awesome. I think that the way they did the makeup was...well...not makeup.
I KNOW that during the second act, they don't put a mask on him, as I could still see the prosthetic teeth and such moving when he spoke. The only theory I have as to how that did the whole face-transformation thing is that since the Beast isn't onstage between "Beauty and the Beast" and the "If I Can't Love Her" reprise, as the "Mob Song" is between those numbers and his next scene, I think they remove me the prosthetics during the "Mob Song" and put a mask (with a small chinstrap or something with fake teeth on it that move when he talks, to look like he still has the prothethic teeth on) on him as well as a costume that is just a body suit with velcro on the backs of various pieces. Since most of his face is either in shadow (he's huddled in the shadows in his "room" during the battle scene) and then in movement (with his back to the audience a lot) while he's fighting Gaston, and then dying on stage. This is where the chinstrap idea is essential, because he does some talking in this scene and it would be off if his teeth were gone/not moving.
For the transformation, he is wrapped in his cape, which I think it somehow attatched to his "paws" and "feet." The lift lifts him up, and then proceeds to spin him around (like an arrow on a clock face) 2 times (at least, maybe 3, I don't remember.). During this whole spinning thing, colored stobes are going off. When they pull him back up to upright position, then REAL strobes goes off, and the stage lights go out so there's a moment of darkness. I think this is when the mask comes off, and then his arm goes back into the cape. During the whole strobe light thing, I think he's pulling off various and sundry pieces of costume with the velco on the back. I think that somehow these pieces are attatched to the cape in some way, because the cape falls away when the stage lights come back on, and he's in human form wearing a billowy white shirt (resembling the Seinfeld "poofy white shirt" and "torn" blue pants that come down to his knees (the exact outfit he appears in after the transformation in the movie, and he has bare feet. you can't see any costume pieces lying on the floor, indicatin they're attatched to the cape somehow. One of the facts that supports my whole mask theory is that when the Beast/Prince comes down off the lift, he now has long, wavy hair, which is different than that of the Beast's. It actually makes him kinda look like Michael Bolton before he cut off his hair.
Overall, the show was AMAZING. I was VERY impressed with the cast (with the exception of Belle), especially Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Babbette, Gaston, and the Beast. I bought almost $100 worth of merchandixe (A T-Shirt, a Keychain, a LE Pin Set of all the "current" Disney musicals (I put current in quotes because there's a Tarzan pin in there), with the exception of Aida, and a program which came with a fake rose.
It was a great show, and I wish I could see it again. I also wish that Disney would just move the show into the theatre where Tarzan was, so that it doesn't have to close :( My only regret is that my father wouldn't let me wait at the stage door to get the autographs of the cast (he didn't want to miss out train, which we were a whole half hour early for!!), but, ce'st la vie.
**EDIT** Watch this movie to see what I mean about Annelise van der pol and Steve Blanchard, especially about Steve's performance of "If I Can't Love Her." Let the moive load and start about a halfway though for Annelise van der Pol and a third of the way from teh end for Steve Blanchard.