Thursday, July 21, 2005

In Lexington, This "Beauty" Is No Beast (Or, the Best Darn 8 Bucks You'll Spend this Weekend)

Just got back from the Lexington Youth Summer Theatre's annual production, in this case, the Disney musical Beauty and the Beast. Now if anyone out there has seen a full-blown professional production of this show, you're probably thinking, "Um, I know kids are cute and all, but this is a tough show." And if you're expecting Broadway sets and costumes, okay, this isn't it. And to tell the truth, I partly went because my son hadn't seen the show (just the movie) and one of his friends was appearing in it.

But boy, did I love it. The heart of this show is the emotion. For any girl like myself who grew up wishing for a guy who "gets her" so much that his big gift to her isn't a giant diamond but a WHOLE LIBRARY, the Disney version of B & the B is a dream come true. (I don't remember the library part when I originally heard the fairy tale as a child.) And maybe I'm a bit of a sucker for young actors (I confess: I was a Thespian throughout my teen years), but these kids were great. Especially considering that many of the parts were played by young 'uns (as young as third grade), the disciplined choreography, projection, and so on were pretty impressive. The three lead roles (played by teens)--Belle, the Beast, and Gaston--were exceptional. (Note to Belle--Micki Chernick--there's a little show out there called American Idol that you might be interested in when you turn 18.)

Okay, I'm gushing. I already admitted I'm a sucker for young actors, especially ones willing to put it out there on the live stage. And I'm a sucker for almost any show that makes me cry. (Which this did. Even after seeing the movie 10 times and the show once before.) But I took part in some topnotch high school productions in Virginia, and I doubt even we could have pulled this off as well, especially given the age range of the actors. The director, Garrett Blair, should be commended.

So, if you're looking for something family-oriented this weekend that won't blow the budget, you have two more chances to see it: Friday, July 22 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, July 23 at 2 p.m. at Cary Hall, 1595 Mass. Ave. in the Lexington. It's in the town center, and there's parking in the back. Tickets are available at the door, but I wouldn't come late, judging by the packed house tonight. Oh, and the proceeds go to three charities, all agreed upon by the children. What's not to love?


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