A tale as old as time is coming to the Carson City Community Center weekends, Nov. 4-19. The Western Nevada Musical Theatre Company will present the full Broadway version of Disney’s Tony-winning Beauty and the Beast, featuring spectacular production numbers, stunning costuming, sets and lighting, and lavish orchestrations performed by a large, professional orchestra.
Disney adapted this staged version of its 1991 Academy Award-winning animated musical film of the same name as its first introduction to Broadway in 1994. The show was a tremendous success, running for an impressive 5,461 performances, making Disney — and family entertainment a permanent Broadway attraction.
Disney released a live-action film of Beauty and the Beast earlier this year, mixing live characters with animated enchanted objects. Each of these Disney productions is based on the classic French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, which tells of a cold-hearted prince who is magically transformed into a hideous beast because of his cruelty. The spell can only be broken if he learns to love another and earns their love in return.
Producer-director Stephanie Arrigotti and assistant director-choreographer Gina Kaskie-Davis have mounted three Disney mega-musicals in the last three Novembers: Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid and now Beauty and the Beast.
“Let there be no doubt: Nothing about Disney is easy,” Arrigotti said. “Designing effective and artistic costumes and sets for these productions is extraordinarily difficult. And the production numbers in these shows are some of the most difficult — and the most exciting — that you’ll find on Broadway, requiring highly trained dancers and creative choreography.
“While these productions may be based on children’s stories, the ultimate performance is one that brings adults to their feet.”
Arrigotti hires more than 20 professional seamstresses, set artists, set builders, vocal and instrumental directors, technicians and musicians to create these productions. Their company recently celebrated their 100th show, attracting audiences from 20 states.
“Personally, I prefer the staged version of Beauty and the Beast to the recent live action movie,” Arrigotti said. “Rather than animated figures, I love having real people inside of the enchanted objects. The audience relates to them more and gets more deeply involved in the story. And the number Be Our Guest, performed by the enchanted objects, is truly one of the most exciting production numbers I’ve ever seen on Broadway. When we presented that number in our 2005 production, the cheers and applause were so thunderous and lasted for so long, they literally stopped the show.”
Note that tickets are selling quickly for the production. Sales are currently 27 percent higher than sales at this date than for the last two Disney shows. Poppins ultimately drew 6,550 people. To accommodate the crowds, an additional matinee has been scheduled, but Arrigotti strongly advises buying tickets early as multiple performances will sell out.