Beauty and the Beast-a beautiful and just the perfect fairytale that has enchanted kids as well as adults for decades. The story was first molded in to a play on April 18, 1994. The opening of this legendry smashing musical on Broadway was something really incredible. The cast, costumes, music and scenes all are very apt to the situation of the tale. Everything was so perfect that it seemed too good to be true. To witness the show was not less than a magical experience and this very reason of precision in all the fields of the play make Beauty and the Beast a blockbuster hit till today.
The story is simple having an interesting start with the heroine who is the sweetest and pretty girl in the village but she has big dreams of exploring adventures in life. Belle-the heroine a motherless girl lives with her father who spend his life in inventing things though regarded as an eccentric by the villagers. And of course Gaston the villain an ill-mannered and pompous character though he is handsome but exhibit no heart towards others feelings. He considers Belle the most beautiful girl in the town and she only deserves to marry him. Belle encounters a terrifying and very bad tempered beast when she goes out to rescue her father. She frees her father by giving herself in as a slave to the beast.
Finally she falls in love with the beast that in turn emerges as caring and loving personality in her company. Gaston tries to kill the beast on finding the truth that Belle is in love with him but it proved otherwise. Beast is injured in his fight with Gaston and he dies. Belle couldn't take this sorrow and speaks for the first time when beast is dying that she loves him. This sentence breaks the spell of enchantress that's been there for years on the charming prince and his entire castle. And then they lived happily ever after.
This seems to be a simple story but honestly it incorporated technical wizardry, special effects and illusions and also the dazzling production numbers and unforgettable songs by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. This Disney's musical extravaganza is lavishly produced and undoubtedly inventively executed! This play included month's hard work to make it worth watching again and again. Extra pains have been taken by directors and producers including the entire crew team to make it as original as the Disney animated movie and it worked. Besides the main characters all actors have their own personality, feelings plus the trademarks that were quite a difficult part to reproduce in the show. But that added to the magic of the play.
Belle is a strong headed person and she is not afraid to say the truth in front of anyone. Whereas beast who was once a charming prince is now a horrific looking beast. But as the play progresses he emerges as gentle and loving personality as a contrast to Gaston who looks handsome physically but for sure is mean and beastly at heart. Beside these major characters the side characters took even more efforts to add perfect ingredients in the play. The entire castle members or Prince's servants who are now transformed in to enchanted objects were given so much detail to imitate the exact replica of the original Disney animated movie. Lumiere-the love struck candelabra helps to enkindle the light between Belle and Beast. He flatters Belle on one side and advice beast to be gentler with the lady on the other hand. Then you can watch the flirtatious feather duster, Babette. And also Cogsworth a pompous but faithful valet always ready to serve his master. And yes the motherly figure, kind hearted Mrs. Potts and her perky son chic who were transformed in to a teapot and a tea cup. Now the costume for these characters was a challenge for costume designer Ann Hould-Ward. Generating the dreadful exterior of the Beast, the unblemished ballroom gown of Belle and the magic of the costumes of the enchanted objects was a big task. This production needed over 250 costumes and 150 wigs in the show. Wow! Just imagine that.
Just only creating Beast's costume and makeup alone was a hectic and extensive task. Pieces of Beast were shaped from special molds taken from casts of the actor's face. Every part was then hand painted to match with actor's skin plus each performance involved an hour and a half to apply the makeup to actor's face. Wow! Did you imagine this while enjoying the show. Me neither. Now the enchanted object's costumes also needed added care as audience should immediately relate the objects with the one's they saw in the movie.
The most complicated as well interesting costume was of Lumiere. The equipment used by the designer for the elaborately decorated candle hands, sculpted boots, collar, and cuffs unite to generate an exciting candelabrum. During the entire play diverse individual items were added to the costumes of all the enchanted objects to reveal that with the passage the objects are gradually becoming more of objects than humans.
Another vital aspect of the play Beauty and the Beast on stage, was developing a set that can suitably portray the scenery like that of an enchanted castle or a cheery, sunny village. Each design also had to mirror to the mood of the story. The intricate sets took six months to build and another three months to install them in the theater. As an example, Belle's bedroom in Beast's castle is luxuriously lush but is still dark and dreary to give an image that Belle as the Beast's prisoner.
Special effects of lighting enhanced the feelings of the characters in the show in different scenes. To provide you an idea how light affects the mood of the show let me remind you few scenes from the play like in the end the last song Beauty and the Beast, is presented in vivid and bright yellow/light blue light to enhance the happy mood. Whereas during The Mob Song, or The Wolf Chase, the lights remained dark as well as cold with shades of dark red and black. Besides lights other scenic design assist any play to develop a certain mood or feeling of the show. And that is true for Beauty and the beast too. The show was given benefit of state-of-the-art illusions like the fireball cast by the enchantress disguised as old, ugly beggar woman. That fireball was the first throw able, hand-held, pyrotechnic device, taking one and a half year to develop.
And in the last but definitely not the least the music which is real music to the ears. Each and every song was so smartly thought out and written to narrate the coming events in the story. The first song is Belle, in which Belle reveals her longing to travel to far off places to experience some thrill and adventure in her life. No Matters what! shows the intense love and bond of a daughter and father. A beautiful number Human Again which was unfortunately never used in the film expresses the deep feeling of the enchanted objects on their spell and what they plan to do if it is miraculously broken. Then the Belle's and Beast's singles exhibit great emotions, and vividly show what they are going through? Home reflects a girl's feelings when she is trapped inside a castle with a terrifying beast. In addition If I Can't Love Her is a beautiful song showing Beast's true human longings plus personality traits that make this song a memorable one for everyone. If you have seen this show once then I am sure you are eagerly waiting to see it again and if you haven't, then give yourself a treat and indulge in what will leave you in utopia for a good long time.