Disney’s Beauty and the Beast stirs excitement
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - December 25, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - As its much-awaited Manila debut in January 2015 draws near, the hit Broadway musical Disney’s Beauty and the Beast continues to stir a frenzy of excitement among millions of Filipino music and theater enthusiasts.

Since news of its staging on Jan. 9 to 25, 2015 at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines broke out a few months ago, the acclaimed musical has captured public attention through an extensive promotional and publicity build up highlighting its wonderful songs and music, spectacular production, fabulous costumes and superb acting that drew record audiences for 20 years. 

Behind the epic move to bring to life on stage the beautiful and timeless story of love and transformation that is at the core of one of the most-loved fairy tales of all time are Disney Theatrical Productions, NETworks and Broadway Entertainment Group which have collaborated with Ovation Productions in mounting the original Broadway spectacular as part of its 10-country first-ever international tour in celebration of its 20th anniversary on the stage.

After debuting in Istanbul (Turkey) last Oct. 10, the touring act made its way to Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Thessalonik (Greece), Trieste (Italy) and Milan (Italy) before heading to Manila (Philippines), after which it will head for Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, Jakarta (Indonesia), Kazakhstan and finally Macau, marking the first time it will be seen in these areas.

The selection of Manila as part of the musical’s international tour is in recognition of the Philippines’ stature as a promising area in mounting huge productions of live entertainments, according to Liz Coops, producer for Broadway Entertainment Group.

“The Philippines is today’s premier Asian market in theater production,” she has said in an interview, “that’s why our team has decided to make Manila the first stop in the Asian leg of the international tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Renen de Guia of Ovation Productions, which is observing this year its 35th anniversary in music and entertainment promotion, expressed elation over the opportunity to handle the Manila staging of Beauty and the Beast, as he thanked Disney Theatrical Productions, NETworks and Broadway Entertainment Group for their trust and confidence in Ovation’s capability to mount the production.

Beauty and the Beast is simply an incredible theatrical experience that will tug on everyone’s emotions,” Renen said. “All the characters — from Lumiere, Gaston, Belle and the Beast — are spot-on, captivating and brilliant in their roles.

“The stage props are fabulous and as are all the colorful and cheery costumes. The music, the songs, the choreography are spectacular. Everything about it is mystical and magical and fun for both children and adults. It will make you want to watch the musical every night,” he added.

Beauty and the Beast is the classic tale of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress. The story goes that if the Beast can learn to love and be loved in return, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But if the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed forever.

The international touring production is directed by Rob Roth — who received a Tony Award nomination for his Broadway directorial debut with the musical — and choreographed by Matt West. Completing the original Broadway creative team in the tour are Tony Award-winning Ann Hould-Ward, costume design; Natasha Katz, lighting design; Stanley Meyer, scenic design; John Petrafesa Jr., sound design; and Michael Kosarin, music supervision.

Behind the music of the stage production is Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Tangled), with lyrics written by the late Howard Ashman (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin), additional songs with music by Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice (The Lion King, Jesus Christ Superstar).

The book is written by Linda Woolverton (screenwriter of The Lion King, Alice In Wonderland and the upcoming The Maleficent).

Based on the 1991 Academy Award-winning animated feature film of the same title, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast premiered on Broadway in 1994 and was nominated for nine prestigious Tony Awards and ran for 13 years. It still ranks as one of the longest-running and highest-grossing Broadway shows of all time.

In the lead roles in the musical are Hilary Maiberger as Belle and Darick Pead as the Beast. They are supported by Hassan Nazari-Robati (Lumiere, the candlestick), James May (Cogsworth, the clock), Alan Dietlein (Gaston), Emily Mattheson (Mrs. Potts), Paul Crane (Maurice, Belle’s father), Jordan Aragon (Lefou, Gaston’s sidekick) and Charlie Jones and William Poon (the kids who alternate as Mrs. Potts child, Chip).

(Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will be staged at the CCP Main Theater on Jan. 9 to 25, 2015 at 8 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It is presented by Disney Theatrical Productions, Inc., NETworks, Broadway Entertainment Group, MKFAE and Ovation Production. It is made possible by Globe Business, Visa, The Philippine STAR, Fox International Channels and Diamond Hotel. Other supporters include Working Mom, Metro Society, Metro Magazine, Chalk Magazine, Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP), Click The City, Crossover 101.5, Inquirer.net, When In Manila, ABS-CBN, Total Girl, Philstar.com, Retro 105.9, MYX, Rappler and Monster Radio RX 93.1. Tickets are priced at P7,895, P6,845, P5,790, P4,740, P4,210, P3,160 and P2,105, plus applicable service charges and are available at Ticketworld outlets (891-9999) and online at www.ticketworld.com.ph, beautyandthebeast.com.ph and Facebook.com/beautyandbeastph.)

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