Casa 0101 is calling BEAUTY AND THE BEAST its most ambitious production to date. The musical will run through Jan. 21, 2018, with (as it has come to be expected from this theater) a Los Angeles grown, fully diverse, cast.
This is the well-known Disney story that opened on Broadway in 1994 and that is based on a traditional fairy tale written in 1740 by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villenueve. It tells the tale of a young woman in a provincial town and a Beast, who is actually a handsome Prince living in a luxurious castle in France. An enchantment turned him into a Beast, and only the true love of a woman will return him to his original self as a Prince. The musical is full of popular songs like “Be Our Guest,” “Belle,” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
Casa0101 did a nice job with its stage, figuring a way to show the indoor of the castle while also allowing for outdoor scenes with the help of projections on a backdrop. Abel Alvarado did well with the costume designs (I particularly love Mrs. Potts’). While the sound is not perfect, it seems to do more with the limitations of the small theater than anything else.
There are 25 actors in the cast, all of them doing a good job, but I’ll mention a few that really shine: Caleb Greene is adorable as the French maitre d’, and almost candelabra, Lumiere. He has great chemistry with Babette, who’s slowly becoming a feather duster, played by Rosa Navarrete; Mrs. Potts, who is turning into a teapot, is played by Jacquelin Schofield, who delivers superbly the best song of them all – “Beauty and the Beast.” Casting found a tall, talented actor to play The Beast – Omar Mata – who is very popular for the crowd’s selfies after the show. Adrian Uly Ochoa is a brilliant 17-year-old dancer that stands out from the rest, and whom I expect to see more of in the future.
The top of all my fun, and this is why I wanted to tell you Pasadenians about it, came from watching Gaston, played by Pasadena’s own Andreas Pantazis, and his sidekick LeFou, played by Maxwell Peters. These two are hilarious, physical and full of energy, and so very much into their parts that they become audience favorites. Pantazis lives in the Altadena area now, attended PCC at one point, and feels very proud to represent Pasadena as part of this locally grown cast. He is great in this part (and he deserves a better pair of pants).
CASA0101 is located at 2102 East First Street, in Boyle Heights 90033. The musical plays Friday to Sunday through Jan. 21, 2018. Tickets are $35 for general admission; $30 for students and seniors; $25 for Boyle Heights’s residents. You can read more about the play and purchase tickets at casa0101.org
Photo: Maxwell Peters (LeFou), Andreas Pantazis (Gaston) / Credit: Ed Krieger
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