Beauty and the Beast
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Eric Chazankin

Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Playhouse presents a delightful production of Disney’s musical Beauty and the Beast. Nominated for nine Tony Awards including best musical, it just finished one of the longest runs on Broadway.

Most of you saw the animated Disney film version of this age old story of how a woman must first learn how to love the beast in a man before a lasting relationship is possible, and a man must learn how to set a woman free from his possessiveness before he can ever hope to love her. This may be Disney’s version, but there is still a lot of depth to this mythological story. “Although Beauty and the Beast seems like a simple Disney musical, its themes are profound,” says director Holly Vinson. “The question is asked again and again, ‘What is wrong with being different?’ Belle is considered odd because she reads, thinks and has dreams. Gaston is worshipped because he is strong and boisterous. The Beast is feared because he looks hideous. However, the play and its beautiful score, soon reveal to us the redemptive power of love and kindness, which is the true nature of beauty. And, it is in this moment that, magically, we see who is truly ‘the Beast.’”

While the music enhances the story’s depth, it is also very entertaining and rounds out the characters, many of which are under a magic spell. Because a young prince fails to see that beauty is more than skin deep, a sorceress puts a spell on him and his servants. The once handsome prince grows hair and horns and looks like a beast. His servants are slowly turning into things like Mrs. Potts (Tika Moon) turning into a teapot and her son Chip (Taylor Tarantino) becoming a teacup with a chip taken out of it. The spell can only be broken if the prince learns how to love.

In addition to excellent singing and acting talents by the entire cast, particularly Tika Moon as Mrs. Potts and Amiee Conn as the beautiful Belle, costume designers Pam Enz and Cynthia Beckley and set designer David R. Wright are to be commended for designs that bring added delight to this production. There are also many very talented children in this show from Kids Summer Theatre Workshop. They add their voices, energy and acrobatics to make this a great show for the entire family.

For tickets or more information call (707) 523-4185 or visit www.6thstreetplayhouse.com.

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