Experience a Night of Enchantment | Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at ZACH Theatre

by Britni Rachal on July 18, 2018 in Living Texas, Austin, Theatre,
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Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is bringing a magical feel to ZACH Theatre from now until the beginning of September.

Perfect for all ages, ZACH’s production of the timeless fairy tale doesn’t disappoint. From extravagant set design to smoky effects and dramatic—sometimes flickering—lighting, the play is produced with all the frills and more you would expect from a story that’s been embraced by Disney.

With classic songs including “Be Our Guest” and “Gaston,” the music belts out in its strongest and purest form throughout the show. The Zach version of “Beauty and the Beast” features the animated film’s Academy Award-winning music by Alan Menken and lyrics by the late Howard Ashman, along with additional songs composed by Alan Menken and lyrics by Tom Rice.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at ZACH Theatre stars Briana Brooks as Belle. Photo Kirk Tuck

If you’re not already familiar with the musical, the production follows Belle, a book-smart and adventurous young woman and the Beast – a once dashing young prince who is cursed by an enchantress. If the Beast cannot learn to love and be loved in return, he and his household, including Lumiere (the candlestick), Cogsworth (the clock), Mrs. Potts, and little Chip (the teacups) will be trapped forever under the spell.

Alexander Mendoza in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at ZACH Theatre. Photo Kirk Tuck

From Belle’s dazzling yellow gown to Mrs. Potts and Chip’s bright and vibrant teacups, costumes stand out the most in the play, with no actor’s wardrobe falling short of exceptional. My favorite costume though was Lumiere’s, with his two candlestick hands. Chip’s costume – with either child actor Wilkes Goodner (Chip #1) or Lucca Ostrovich’s (Chip #2) face showing through was also noteworthy.

John Christopher, Meredith McCall and Martin Burke in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at ZACH Theatre.
Photo Kirk Tuck

Though the play has its serious moments, laughter soon rings out through the audience as the characters banter back and forth. I have seen numerous variations of “Beauty and the Beast,” including the off-Broadway play that came to Austin a few years ago and I can honestly say that the ZACH Theatre version is my favorite. The smaller, more intimate theater environment that the Topfer Theater provides, combined with the detail put into this play through set and costume design, coupled with very talented acting makes this play a perfect choice for end-of-summer entertainment. I also enjoyed how the characters performed some of their scenes from within the audience.

Martin Burke and Jennifer Blakeney Young in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at ZACH Theatre. Photo Kirk Tuck

Recommended for ages 6 and up, ZACH’s Beauty and the Beast is perfect for a date night, a family night out, or a girls’ night out with friends. Some of the audience the night I attended even included little girls dressed up as Belle. “I think it’s fantastic,” said Brooke Kelley, a native Austinite and Auburn University college student. “I really like the scenery and the actors’ dancing and singing is outstanding, really.” By attending the show at ZACH theatre, you are also supporting the local Austin arts, something that one of the actors reminded the audience of before and after the play, thanking everyone in attendance.

Directed by ZACH Associate Artistic Director, Abe Reybold with musical direction by Allen Robertson and choreography by Sara Burke, you won’t want to miss Beauty and the Beast at ZACH.

Beauty and the Beast runs now through September 2, 2018. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online or at ZACH’s box office.

Cover photo (Front Row, L to R) John Christopher, Martin Burke, Jennifer Blakeney Young, June Julian, and Meredith Burke with Cast Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at ZACH Theatre. Photo Kirk Tuck