Benjamin Cox and Dominique Solano in “BEAUTY AND THE BEAST” at Cocoa Village Playhouse. photo by Goforth Photography.
By PAM HARBAUGH
Although costumes seem to be taking center stage with Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” running through Oct. 8 (and probably extended) at Cocoa Village Playhouse, don’t forget the story and the music.
With book by Linda Woolverton, music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and later Tim Rice, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” have been delighting audiences since the 1991 animated film. It was so popular, it soon moved to Broadway in 1994 where it ran for an extraordinary 13 years. It had two four-year national tours. Now, you can find it at regional and community theaters, like Cocoa Village Playhouse.
And given CVP’s reputation for lavish visuals and big live orchestra sound, this production is designed to please.
Based on the 18th century fair tale by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, “Beauty and the Beast” tells the story of Belle, a beautiful young girl who, in an effort to save her father, agrees to live in an enchanted castle presided over by a cultured but hideous Beast.
Eventually, love wins.
Directed by Anastacia Hawkins Smith and choreographer Pamela Larson, the CVP production features Dominique Solano as Belle, Benjamin Cox as the Beast, Jason Carl Crase as Lumiere, Jonathan Goforth as Cogsworth, Cathy Cassidy as Mrs. Potts, Lawrence Mazza as Gaston and David Morales as LeFou.
Extraordinary though it seems, the costumes were constructed in house under the guidance of costume designer Dan Hill. The beast creature suit was designed by Tracy Wines and Ben Cox. The original scenic design is by Joseph Lark Riley. The conductor is J. Thomas Black, Jr.
Its special consultant is Gavin Little, CVP’s former audio engineer who just finished up touring with the national production of “Beauty and the Beast.”
“It really took the entire team working non-stop on every aspect of the show,” said ensemble member Chris Beavers. “But that’s what it takes to make the magic of Disney.”
“Beauty and the Beast” is scheduled to run through Oct. 8 at Cocoa Village Playhouse, 300 Brevard Ave., Cocoa. It performs 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $16 to $24. Call 321-636-5050, visit CocoaVillagePlayhouse.com or click on their ad.
This is an edited version of a story running next week in the Melbourne Beachsider.