Beauty and the Beast – Jenkintown MS/HS

Beauty and the Beast by Jenkintown MS/HS in Jenkintown, PA

February 9, 2022

Review submitted by Jack McCullough of Harriton High School

Sacré Bleu! A nonstop joy, Jenkintown High School’s Beauty and the Beast certainly gives audiences a chance to experience something there that wasn’t there before!

Based on a fairytale of the same name, the original film, released by Disney in 1991, tells the age-old story of a young woman named Belle, who, in order to save her father, offers to live with the monstrous Beast, learning in her time with him that there is more to love than what the eye can see. Opening to widespread acclaim, the movie became one of the company’s most iconic, prompting Disney CEO Michael Eisner to order production on a musical almost immediately. Just two years later, Beauty and the Beast hit Broadway, and in the time since has grossed over 1.7 billion dollars, making it one of the most successful musicals ever made.

For a show as magical as Beauty and the Beast, often the most critical aspect of the production is the ensemble, who are entrusted with bringing the whimsy of the world to life, providing much of the energy found within songs. Luckily, the performers of Jenkintown were ready to give everything they had to their performances, elevating large group numbers to dizzying heights with energy and excitement, and filling the stage with life from wing to wing.

Taking center stage as book-smart beauty Belle was Jackie Drozd who set the tone for the show perfectly with her witty delivery and heartfelt vocals, exuding kindness while remaining grounded in her portrayal of the classic character. Her stage presence was simultaneously attention-grabbing and subtle, with each movement carrying character and emotion behind it. Right beside her throughout, leading man Zach Pacuraru (The Beast) conveyed emotional complexity rarely seen in high school theatre, blending immense rage with defeated sadness, before finally transitioning into the kind and gentle person that he truly was at heart.

As main antagonist Gaston, Aden Dubin brought his A-game, infusing every scene and song with the unbridled ego of a man who genuinely believes that the world revolves around him, generating a larger than life character to wildly entertaining results. Serving as the backbone of the show were the servants of the Beast’s castle, whose chemistry was unparalleled, delivering quips and interactions with a clean and polished vigor.

 Propelling the musical numbers and electric character moments to an even greater quality were the technological feats, which went off without a hitch, seamlessly transporting the audience to the different scenes of the fairy tale world. Whether it be the magnificent costume work from designers Maryjanet McNamara and Heather Willever-Farr, or the superb lighting work, which brought genuine fear through deep blood reds, particularly in show-stopping number “The Mob Song,” all helped to round out the show into something truly special.

Packed with charm, cheer, and abundant joy, Jenkintown’s Beauty and the Beast stands as a poignant reminder, proving to the audience that while the show is a sight to behold, the heart that lies within might be even more magical.

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Review submitted by Lindsey Keller of Upper Merion Area High School

“No Matter What” song or dance Jenkintown’s Beauty and the Beast is performing, you will certainly be dancing in your seat. The classic story was brought to life on Jenkintown’s stage this weekend.

After an enchantress cursed a prince and his castle, the Beast and his furniture friends are isolated deep in the woods with a curse that can only be broke with true love. Years later, Belle comes to the Beast’s castle to save her trapped father and makes an ultimatum; take me for him. In her village, Gaston hears of Belle’s circumstances and starts to rally the town against the Beast. In a race against time, and a mob, the Beast’s final chance at true love to break the age-old curse is resting on the shoulders of the beauty, Belle.

With simple choreography, the cast filled the stage throughout the show with infectious energy and bold facial expressions. The actors surprised the audience while occasionally appearing throughout the aisles during group numbers like “Be Our Guest.”

In numbers like “A Change in Me” and “Is this Home?” Jackie Drozd portrayed Belle’s elegant and gentle nature perfectly. While accompanying the Beauty, Zach Pacuraru encapsulated the Beast’s energy in his furry, yet powerful stage presence. With his booming voice and hunched frame, Pacuraru had bold expressions throughout his scenes and especially in the song “How Long Must This Go On?” As they waltzed around the stage, the pair extended their love story to all corners of the theater.

The supporting roles of the show gave the performance its spunk. Most notably, the iconic pair of Cogsworth, played by Daniel Gifford, and Lumiere, played by Merrick Mangan, had the audience giggling at all of their silly interactions. Other castle members like Mrs. Potts, played by Celia Defazio, and Madam de la Grande Bouche, played by Charlotte Steinhauer, performed with quirky elegance. The ensemble filled the theater with their volume and strong personality.

The Beast’s backstory was told through windows at the back of the stage as shadowed silhouettes performed. Small points of effective lighting, like red flashes or blue tones, soon followed in the performance. The costumes were so elegant that even the dancing spoons had glitter while Gaston’s flexing muscles and the furniture’s classic updos did not disappoint.

Jenkintown’s production of Beauty and the Beast was nothing like any other. The audience’s love of the show alone could break the Beast’s curse.