Beauty and the Beast

My friend Em and I bought tickets to Beauty and the Beast months ago.  I’d been looking forward to it, but in a vague, “that’s happening eventually I guess” kind of way but, all of a sudden on Saturday…the day was here.

With a glass of champagne, we settled into our seats: dead center, second row…on the balcony.  Perfect view of the stage (except for the few scenes on raised sets).  The curtain featured a glowing rose in the top right corner.  As the lights dimmed, a voice filled the room: “Once upon a time…”

The scene was done with a puppet enchantress, which was fairly obvious, but it didn’t matter once the final line was spoken (“Who could ever love a beast?”) and the curtain came up to show us the answer: Belle.

It was beautifully done, and all the usual songs made me emotional: “Belle,” “Belle (Reprise),” and “If I Can’t Love Her” and its reprise for starters.  “Me” made me laugh and “Human Again” made my heart swell with joy.  I hated that they cut “Maison Des Lune,” but was okay with them cutting “No Matter What.”  Actually, I didn’t even notice “No Matter What” was missing until I got home and pulled out my mom’s copy of the soundtrack, but I had been looking forward to the other.

Lumiere was a delight, as per usual.  Everything he did was both hilarious and dirty.  Belle was the perfect mix of kind and spirited.  Chip was adorable, although his role seemed to be smaller in this than in other productions I’ve seen.  And of course the Beast was an amazing character.  His performance emphasized the idea that the curse was getting stronger everyday and he was losing more of his humanity steadily.

That’s my favorite difference between the movie and the musical: in the movie, it’s basically understood that the curse was a one time enchantment, an instant change, although a deeper reading seems to imply that some of the people had morphed more than others.  However, in the musical, it is explicitly shown that the individuals became more like objects as time passed and the curse sat in more and more.

All in all, it was a magical night.  I love the story of Beauty and the Beast.  It reminds me that anything is possible and adventure can appear in many different forms.

I’m trying to find an unadapted copy of the original story (by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, I think).  Well, Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont wrote it, but I can’t determine who wrote the short story and who wrote the novel.  Obviously, I want the novel.

And my wonderful best friend Emmy bought me this lovely, musical snow globe as a late birthday gift.

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Honestly, I’ll probably wind it up and play it to put my kids to sleep one day.  And my, is it gorgeous.

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