Beauty and the Beast is back at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage by Arts Club until January 13th, 2017. Having been produced by the Arts Club four times since 2005, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is a proven favourite among audiences and creative teams alike in Vancouver. Is it any surprise that this is my 4th time watching it? I’ve loved Beauty and the Beast since I was a little kid and the story never gets old.
Many of the cast, crew, and designers have returned for the company’s fifth production of the musical. Jonathan Winsby, starring as the Beast, performed in the previous productions as Gaston, and Susan Anderson, Shawn Macdonald, Peter Jorgensen, Darren Burkett, Vincent Tong, and Bernard Cuflling are reprising their respective roles.
Bill Millerd also returned to direct the production, one of his last as the Arts Club’s Artistic Managing Director. “Our original production of Beauty and the Beast was a wonderful creation, but I decided to go with a redesign of the set by Alison Green, along with new costume and lighting designers (Barbara Clayden and Gerald King), and production choreography by Scott Augustine based on the original choreography by Valerie Easton,” says Millerd.
On the opportunity to re-design the set, Alison Green says, “Revisiting the design for Beauty and the Beast has been a gift. We have come a long way in our production capacities since the original was built, with such talent and expertise in our production staff. I took the set out of the 2005 version’s Gothic and into 18th-century France for this production. I was inspired by the colourful folk art of the Alsace for Belle’s world, and by the rococo fantasy of the Loire Chateaux for the Beast’s castle.”
The show-stopping musical numbers, astonishing sets, and lavish costumes is great. The songs are familiar and a few new ones are added to give it more feeling.
This production is the best one yet as Shannon Chan-Kent plays Belle and Kamyar Pazande as Gaston. For a musical, they captured the essence of the movie, but the part that we felt was a bit rushed was the romance between Belle and Beast.
If you can get your hands on any remaining tickets, it is a must if you are a Beauty and the Beast fan. Highly recommended. If it comes back for the sixth time, I’ll definitely be there.