Last Friday I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a little bit of time with my 15-year old niece. Getting time with any teenager is tough in this world of technology! I picked her up at 9 a.m., told her to turn off the phone and we headed to see a play at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival in Lehigh Valley. Each year I try to see at least one adult and one kid’s production. This year it just happened to be Beauty and the Beast. I have never seen the movie, so I knew I was going to be in for a real treat.
With each kid’s show, there is always a twist to the story so that the cast can make it their own. This one started off with storyteller and enchantress, Florabunda and the hysterical Grampaw Gus telling the story of Henry Beaumont and his beautiful daughter Belinda Bell. Here's the short version ...
Henry was a rather wealthy man and lived for pleasing his daughter. One day, the mean Philip P. Prince came along and robbed Henry of his life savings by taxing everyone. The enchantress was less than thrilled with the Prince’s behavior so she cast a spell on him, turning him into Bernard “Beast” Beowolf. Beast decided he was going to hide out in his castle so that no one would ever see him except his servants. Henry was then forced to go in search of a new life as a farmer.
Along his route, Henry encounters the Beast who demands he be killed for stealing a rose from his castle for Belinda. The only way he would be spared would be to turn over his daughter forever and never show his face again. As Belinda finds out the news from her father, she is upset but agrees to live with Beast to spare her father’s life. The Beast treats her and the servants very poorly until she enchants him with her beauty and kindness and this is where the antics come into play with all of the characters of the show.
The servant’s parts were some of the funnier ones of the performance. One of our favorites was Alfredo Fettuccini, the castle chef. His dancing and Italian accents made all the kids laugh. Emiley Kiser, who plays Belinda Bell, had an outstanding performance. Her beauty and grace charmed not only the Beast, but the audience as well. I would also give big props to Andrew Goebel, who played Bernard “Beast” Beowolf. Andrew recently graduated and was the other big star of the show.
I can't give away the ending to the story ... you'll just have to go see it for yourself! Even though my niece is not of typical age for a show like this, they really do try to engage those that are young at heart and enjoy a beloved fairy tale coming to life before their very own eyes. The performance runs through August 3, 2013. For tickets visit pashakespeare.org. If you're coming in from out of town and need a place to stay, visit our package page for more information.