Lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice
Book by Linda Woolverton
Directed by Rob Roth
Choreographed by Matt West
Music Director Michael Kosarin
Produced by Broadway in Chicago
At the Palace Theatre, Chicago
Touring production of Beauty and the Beast seems labored
After months on the road, the National Tour of Beauty and the Beast limped into the Palace Theatre for a two week run. The Tuesday opening was a listless affair that lacked energy. It still contains all the wonderful sets, lighting and costumes one would expect of a Disney inspired production. Beauty and the Beast has played worldwide to 35,000,000 folks and it remains a family friendly musical. It has a terrific score by Alan Menken with Howard Ashman and Tim Rices’s charming lyrics.
There are funny moments and wonderful quirky characters including a pompous Gaston (Nathan Hackman), wacky scientist, Cogsworth (Keith Kirkwood) and the evil Beast (Justin Glaser) together with the lovely Belle (Liz Shivener) that make this fable come to life on stage.
With the exception of the delicious “Be Our Guest,” this production lacked spunk. I also found Justin Glaser as a miscast Beast. His singing was below par as he voice sounded tired.
I must say that the overall strength of the songs, the colorful staging and the worthy story makes Beauty and the Beast a “kid-proof” show. The children in attendance enjoyed the show more than I did.
“Beauty and the Beast” will continue through April 4, 2010 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre located at 151 West Randolph Street. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday nights at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., with Matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday. Tickets ranging from $18-$85, running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes with intermission