Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Montgomery Blair High School Beauty and the Beast

By • Mar 10th, 2008 • Category: Cappies

The lights darken as silhouettes play a story of a man who rejects love, forced to forever be a beast until he can find true love. The scene suddenly turns bright and joyful as the first song begins for Montgomery Blair High School’s production of Beauty and the Beast.

This 1991 Disney film was adapted into a stage show with added songs and scenes. The new musical ran on Broadway for 13 years until closing in 2007. The show depicts the story of a brilliant, misunderstood girl, Belle (Mindy Or), who is forced to live with an angry Beast (Christoff Visscher) who is a unfortunate man put under a spell to forever be a Beast until he finds true love. While in his castle, Belle meets many eccentric talking appliances, such as Lumiere (Russell Ottalini), a candle, Mrs. Potts (Francesca Blume), a teapot, and Cogsworth (Adam Jackson), a clock.

The talent of a large ensemble anchored Blair’s production. Energy was consistent and ran throughout the entire production, making the show enjoyable and entertaining.

Belle (Mindy Or) and the Beast (Christoff Visscher) worked well together, showing their chemistry in much anticipated numbers such as “Beauty and the Beast.” Or portrayed believable emotions when reacting to her surroundings as Visscher showed a gentler side to his character through his soothing voice. Or had some pitch problems on higher notes in her songs, but let her true voice shine through her lower register.

Malcolm Foley, as Gaston, added comic relief and charm to the show through such numbers as “Gaston,” while his trusty sidekick, Lufou (Zack Pinsky) brought energy and more laughs to each scene the duo were in. Russell Ottalini, who played Lumiere, was able to key in on his character bringing wit to the stage, while Francesca Blume, as Mrs. Potts, let her express her tuneful voice on “Beauty and the Beast.” Though the entire cast was hard to hear throughout the show from lack of projection, each member of the cast had an individual character they were depicting, making each scene fun to watch.

Blair’s Pit Orchestra performed the score with minuscule flaws. The pit orchestra never became distracting, even when playing underneath spoken scenes. However, during songs, actors were hard to hear, or suddenly became too loud, because of lack of consistency with microphones and volume.

With dancing forks, spoons, plates, and cups galore, clocking in at two and a half hours, Montgomery Blair portrayed this “tale as old as time” with fun and enthusiasm.

by Laura Butvinik of Winston Churchill

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