Theater review: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ enchants at Hale Centre Theatre

DISNEY’S “BEAUTY AND THE BEAST,” through Oct. 1, Hale Centre Theatre, 3333 S. Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City (801-984-9000 or hct.org)

WEST VALLEY CITY — With Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” its final planned Disney production in its current space before it moves to Sandy next year, and with all the expectations that surround the iconic musical, Hale Centre Theatre needed to serve up something really special.

Fans of Belle, Gaston, the Beast, Mrs. Potts and all the rest can breathe easy and be enchanted as they watch their favorite characters come to life in magnificent splendor on a beautifully decorated stage.

The story is true to the Disney classic, which turns 25 this fall, but also offers several additional songs as the adventurous and intelligent “misfit” Belle becomes the reluctant guest of a cursed beast living in an enchanted castle. The added songs and other material help flesh out the characters, giving more background on some while further explaining the motivations or growth of others.

The production features two casts performing on alternate nights. Leading the charge as Belle on Tuesday was Amelia Rose Moore, who brought the heroine to life with warmth and took full advantage of each opportunity to make her more dimensional. Her rendition of “A Change in Me” was particularly beautiful.

Moore’s performance outpaced those of the leading men, but both Jon Rose as the Beast and Adam Dietlein as Belle’s unwelcome suitor Gaston filled their roles satisfactorily, and both have amazing voices. Rose’s Beast was more sulky than brooding and didn’t carry much menace, but he became both deeper and more endearing in the second act. Dietlein had Gaston’s voice and inflections down pat, but his measured performance seemed to be pulling its punches in more ways than one.

Trevor Dean took a lot of knocks and added humor as Gaston’s sidekick, Lefou. Belle’s father, Maurice, is one of the characters that benefits largely from the expanded script, and Ric Starnes portrayed him with heart.

Also turning in noteworthy performances were Clin Eaton as a delightfully droll Cogsworth, Diana Dayley Bowler as the sweet and motherly Mrs. Potts, and Jennifer Aguirre as the fun and feisty Madame de la Grande Bouche. David T. Glaittli and Sharon Lynn Kenison played well off of each other as Lumiere and Babette, respectively.

While the performances were strong, the stage design and other design elements are generally spectacular. The bottom of the catwalk is wreathed in roses, and the Beast’s enchanted rose takes the spotlight in the final transformation scene.

The show makes use of puppets in many instances, including the prologue with the Beast’s history, Maurice’s horse, a dog-turned-footstool and angry mobs of villagers. Some were more effective or better executed than others, but all were interesting.

While Belle may be the star of the story, the star of the production could be costume designer Jennifer Stapley Taylor, properties designer Michelle Jensen or choreographer Cory Reed Stephens. The intricacy and quality of their work lives up to the standard HCT routinely sets.

The music is beautifully mixed but at times was too loud, overwhelming the actors’ voices in pivotal songs. A few glitches and forgotten lines were present but are likely to smooth out over time.

HCT’s gorgeous production of “Beauty and the Beast” is a magical finale to the company’s legacy of Disney productions on its West Valley City stage.

Content advisory: Slapstick and mild violence.

Email: rachelpbrutsch@gmail.com

I'm Faye Pearson and I own Q Nails and Spa. I love providing high-quality nail services to my clients and seeing their reactions when they see their new nails. I take pride in my work and always aim to give my clients the best possible service. I opened Q Nails and Spa because I wanted to create a relaxing environment where people could come to escape the stresses of daily life. I believe that a little bit of pampering can go a long way, and I'm happy to be able to offer that to my clients.

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