Beauty and the Beast by the Delaware County Christian School in Newtown Square, PA
March 16, 2022
Review submitted by Gabriel Planas-Borgstrom of Bordentown Regional High School
Stunning sets, captivating costumes, and an absolutely “enchanting” cast made Delaware County Christian School’s production of Beauty and the Beast one to watch until the last petal fell!
With a book by Linda Woolverton and music by Alan Menken, Beauty and the Beast is the stage adaptation of a classic Disney tale. It tells the story of an arrogant, cold prince who has a curse laid upon him and the servants within his castle, making him a hideous beast until he can learn to love and be loved by someone in return. As luck would have it, a headstrong village girl named Belle wanders into his castle after he imprisons her father. The two slowly form a bond, and the questions of finding true love and saving the castle’s inhabitants are answered within this heartwarming tale.
Delaware County’s show was brought to life by a strong core of leading and supporting actors, who created a backbone within the cast that elevated everyone to give their best performances. They were complemented excellently by the simple yet impressive sets, as well as the costuming which made the lively cast of household objects believable.
The commanding stage presence and smooth vocals of Emma Carrington made her the perfect fit for Belle. She charmed the audience whenever she took the stage and kept the production both moving and engaging. Alongside her was Noah Dutton as the Beast whose acting wonderfully highlighted the sensitive, human side of the larger-than-life monster.
Every great story needs an even greater villain, and as Gaston, Jeremy Mitchell delivered. His barbaric and arrogant character was only outdone by his impeccable singing, seemingly unable to miss a note all evening. Another high point within the cast was Emily Chung as Cogsworth, whose comedic timing and bold mannerisms created a refreshing, hilarious spin on the classically wound-up character.
It’s no easy feat to make a whole village or castle appear on any stage, but the ingenious multi-level set design created the perfect atmosphere for the performance. Although the balance between the orchestra and the ensemble microphones was occasionally amiss, the cast persevered and kept the overall effect alive.
A timeless animated classic such as Beauty and the Beast can be very difficult to transfer to the real world, but the extraordinary performance of Delaware County Christian School took this challenge head on and delivered a very memorable experience.
Review submitted by Evelyn Walker of Conestoga High School
Delaware County Christian School’s cast of Beauty and the Beast made the audience their “guests” and brought them into the enchanting story with energy and creativity. The students exhibited impressive dance skills, character work, and humor that earned them a standing ovation.
Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice’s classic Broadway musical re-introduced audiences to the magic of Disney onstage following a long period of sadder shows. The show tells the story of a young French girl who “wants much more than [her] provincial life”. When young Belle finds herself the prisoner of a prince under a spell, she becomes determined to make the best of her situation and eventually finds love in the place she would least expect it. Avoiding the advances of the town heartthrob Gaston and dancing with enchanted cookware, Belle embarks on an adventure of romance, family, and magic, meeting unlikely friends along the way.
The orchestra opened the show with Beauty and the Beast’s well-known refrain, immediately immersing the audience in its magic. From the sets to the costumes the design was impressive, and the students showed enthusiasm and hard work in every scene.
Emma Carrington was spunky and adventurous as Belle, depicting a young girl’s struggle to fit in and eventually find a home with bright vocals and deep emotion. She worked particularly well with Noah Dutton’s Beast in “Home–Reprise”, the song in which Belle professes her love for the Beast. Her interpretation of “A Change in Me” was beautiful and filled with hope. Dutton’s take on the Beast was unique and refreshing and he collaborated comedically with the enchanted ensemble.
While Carrington and Dutton told their love story, many supporting cast members helped them on their journey, including Jeremy Mitchell as Gaston, Jazmine Scotton as Mrs. Potts, and Emily Chung as Cogsworth. Mitchell’s impressive vocals, swagger, and stage presence brought Gaston’s larger-than-life character to a new level. Scotton’s interpretation of the classic song “Beauty and the Beast” was stunning and received raucous applause. She easily riffed on the number and sang with deep emotion. Chung’s sarcastic energy as Cogsworth was unique and kept the audience on their toes. She was consistently funny and brought a special energy to the Beast’s castle. Along with these performances, the featured dancers added excitement to the show with their tightly choreographed numbers, including the Wolf Chases and the Napkins’ “Be Our Guest” dance break.
Delaware County Christian School’s stage crew created impressive sets, lighting, and costuming to fully immerse the audience in the show. The crew was efficient with scene changes and quickly responded to lighting cues.
Delaware County Christian School’s performance of the “tale as old as time” brought fresh energy and excitement to a classic story.