“There must be more than this provincial life,” Belle dreams in the beginning of Paramount Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast. It’s a feeling that we can all relate to, although little did Belle know that she could end up spending all of eternity locked up in a large and gloomy castle.
Luckily for Belle, a cheerful candlestick and a motherly tea pot limit any suffering that Belle might experience, and they do their best to warm up their curmudgeonly master.
Beauty and the Beast is a sweet story with a big message, and the Paramount delivers it with a big heart in a big way. The storybook tale is emphasized with a fantastic and magical beginning scene that tells the back story of how a prince ended up as a hideous beast. Other storybook touches are found in the set design and in the script. After all, Belle loves her books.
Both Belle (Beth Stafford Laird) and the Beast (Paul-Jordan Jansen) bring the audience into the story, and hold them tight with growing affection and a kiss that might make Paramount history.
Laird and Jansen become their characters, which makes the Paramount production a Beauty and the Beast that stands alone.
Jackson Evans as Lumiere is delightful, and Becca McCoy as Mrs. Potts is the embodiment of kindness and warmth.
A particularly fun moment is when Lefou (Nick Druzbanski) conducts the cast in “Gaston,” and the choreography of the tapping of tin beer mugs is brilliant.
Director Amber Mak brings magic to the Paramount stage with Beauty and the Beast. Paramount’s Beauty and the Beast is touching, beautiful, and thoughtful, and the story reminds us that an open heart can transform.
Beauty and the Beast runs through January 19 at Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora.
Single tickets are $36 to $74. For tickets, visit paramountaurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Beauty and the Beast is recommended for ages 5 and up for including some scary moments.
ASL performances: Paramount offers live, real-time ASL interpretation for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing at one performance of each Broadway Series production. Beauty and twill be presented with live ASL interpretation on Friday, December 27 at 8 p.m. Patrons can purchase $30 tickets with special seating for this performance with the code ASLPARAMOUNT. Or, ask the box office about a discounted subscription package for Paramount’s three remaining ASL interpreted Broadway performances during the 2019-20 season.
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