Disney’s Beauty And The Beast extended until Feb. 1
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - January 17, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The ongoing Manila presentation of Disney’s Beauty And The Beast at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in Pasay City has been extended until Feb. 1.

In a joint advisory, Disney Theatrical Productions, NETworks and Broadway Entertainment Group, together with Ovation Productions, said they have decided to extend the Manila run of the hit Broadway musical after cancelling and revising some play dates that coincide with the apostolic visit to the country of Pope Francis from Jan. 15 to 19.

Under the new and revised schedule, cancelled were shows on Jan. 15 (8 p.m.), Jan. 16 (8 p.m.) and Jan. 18 (2 p.m. and 8 p.m.), while there will be new schedules on Jan. 19  (8 p.m.), Jan. 27 (gala night at 8 p.m.) and Jan. 29 (2 p.m. and 8 p.m.). The rest of the play dates remain as scheduled until Feb. 1. 

The Manila leg of the first-ever international tour of Beauty And The Beast opened last Jan. 9, ushering in a magical evening of wonderful songs and music, spectacular production, fabulous costumes and excellent acting that blend together in bringing to life the beautiful and timeless story of love and transformation behind one of the most-loved fairy tales of all time.

After debuting in Istanbul, Turkey last October, the touring act that marks the celebration of the musical’s 20th anniversary on stage made its way to Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Thessalonik (Greece), Trieste (Italy) and Milan (Italy) before stopping in Manila, after which it will head to Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, Jakarta (Indonesia), Kazakhstan and Macau, marking the first time it will be seen in these areas.

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

A classic fairy tale from 18th century France, Beauty And The Beast revolves around 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 into his former self. But if the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed forever.

At the centerpiece of the musical is Hilary Maiberger as Belle, who is out to charm theatergoers with her portrayal of the independent and smart but vulnerable beauty of the fairy tale, as she pours her heart out into each song in her lusciously rich voice, pure in tone and smoothly emotive.

She is perfectly paired with Darick Pead, who acts convincingly as the prince imprisoned in the body of the Beast, whose costume he dons with style as he goes roaring and growling while he stalks and leaps about the stage.

They are supported by a strong cast of actors recognized for their gorgeous voices and a natural, breezy stage presence, namely, 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).

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.

 The stage production boasts of the music of 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 (screen writer 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 ranks as one of the longest-running and highest-grossing Broadway shows of all time.

(Disney’s Beauty And The Beast is presented by Disney Theatrical Productions Inc., NETworks, Broadway Entertainment Group, MKFAE and Ovation Productions. It is made possible by Globe Business, Visa, The Philippine STAR, Fox International Channels and Diamond Hotel.  Among its media partners are Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin and BusinessWorld. Other supporters include Working Mom, Metro Society, Metro Magazine, Chalk Magazine, Philippine Entertainment Portals (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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