Presenting a “tale as old as time”

Mt. A’s Garnet and Gold Society presents a dazzling Beauty and the Beast

It is a tale as old as time. A story many of us have known our entire lives, at the end of January, was brought to the stage by Mt. A’s Garnet and Gold Society! Of course, the show in question is Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, an absolutely classical musical based on the highly successful 1991 film. It is a musical full of inspiring music, large-scale and enthralling group numbers, and beautiful costumes. From January 25–27, audiences at Convocation Hall were treated to a stunning spectacle complete with all of the magic you would hope to find in a Disney-inspired production.

Beauty and the Beast was the Walt Disney Company’s first foray into the stage musical sphere. Opening in New York in 1994, only three years after the original film, the show would run for over 5,000 performances and, to this day, remains the 10th-longest-running production in Broadway history. The success of Beauty and the Beast was pivotal in allowing Disney Theatrical (formerly known as Disney on Broadway) to succeed in this new venture. This paved the way for even more Disney musicals to be created, like The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Aladdin, and more recently Frozen. It is easy to see why this musical has become so popular, and a consistently licensed production for many theatre groups worldwide, including Mt. A’s own Garnet and Gold. It is jovial escapism in its purest form, a show that takes you back to the days of your childhood, with memorable songs like “Belle,” “Be our Guest,” and the titular “Beauty and the Beast (tale as old as time)”. Of course, being the borderline Disney adult I am, I was so excited to see this production and it did not disappoint.

Garnet and Gold’s Beauty and the Beast was a dazzling presentation of the talent we have here at Mt. A. I was completely amazed at the performances and abilities of every single person on and off stage. I was particularly impressed by the nuance and vulnerability of Henna Matharu as Belle. Her performance’s strength lies in her ability to portray both Belle’s fear and loss at her father’s situation, and her newfound confidence as she settles into life in the castle. Her renditions of “Home” and “A Change in Me” were  highlights of the show for me personally. Ben Blue—previously seen as Judge Turpin in the Motyer-Fancy Theatre’s production of Sweeney Todd—brought a charm and wit to the character of the beast, along with his incredible vocals, which shined in “If I Can’t Love Her”. I was also amazed at the performances of the various “castle characters,” from Daniel Hennigar’s bright and engaging Lumiere, to Breagh Langille’s touching and warm performance as Mrs. Potts. 

Galen Juliusson

Despite there being particular standout performances, it is worth noting that the entire cast, as an ensemble, worked together in beautiful harmony. The large choreographed sequences, like “Gaston” or “Be Our Guest” were rapturous, giving me the childhood whimsy and wonder I come to expect from a Disney musical of this sort. Of course, this is all supplemented by an expansive set and detailed, alluring costumes. All in all, this year’s Garnet and Gold production was a romantic and enjoyable look into the world of Beauty and the Beast. The camaraderie and excitement from everyone on stage was indeed palpable. I, for one, am excited about what Garnet and Gold has in store for next year’s performance.

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