By Kaitlan Tatro
Tale as old as time, true as it can be… Beauty and the Beast never disappoints.
Walt Disney’s 30th film has been beloved since its release date in 1991. Having grown up as a young girl in the is 90’s, I can attest to loving the story. Beauty and the Beast was the first animated movie nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, and with good reason. The animation is beautiful, the story compelling, and most of all, it had a great female lead!
Flash forward 24 years and the story is as popular as ever. Today, the movie has been adapted to a Broadway play–and when I found out it was coming to the San Diego Civic Theater, I was compelled to buy tickets and see one of my favorite stories play out on stage and see the beautiful Belle.
The production ran around 2 hours and 15 minutes long, including a 20 minute intermission. It was a fun, colorful, and moving play suitable for all ages: children, teens, parents, all came to the show and could take something out of it. Children, like the ones I saw in princess gowns, could see the fun in the fairytale. Teens could see the hope and the romance in the play. The adults could see the humor in the underlying suggesting jokes the play made. The production excelled because it could appeal to all ages by bringing in the same story we know and love.
The production seemed to highlight and play up Belle’s strong female character, which I loved. Belle begins the play with book in hand and reads to us on stage, which Gaston believes to be “dangerous” because it allows her to think. Gaston’s response is supposed to be comical, and it is, but it is also a typical response of men at the time the play is set, in the 1800’s. But Belle doesn’t let Gaston or society, keep her from her passion for reading. Belle loves reading because it allows her to escape her provincial life. Something book lovers, and us at Sculpt, can connect to.
The production also highlighted Belle’s ability to stand up for herself. When she was presented with the offer of the typical obedient marriage of the time, she rejected it. Belle even stood up for herself with the Beast, defying his demands and letting the Beast know, she would be no one’s prisoner.
Although the play contained the fairytale elements of “far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells and a prince in disguise”, Belle’s strength and determination to live her life how she chooses is what made this play stand out.
A princess who speaks her mind, reads, and chooses her fate… that’s a character Sculpt loves.
I highly suggest attending this event the next time it is near your city. Take your kids, your friends, a date– anyone will enjoy.
And may you all live happily ever after.