The latest incarnation of Disney’s beloved fairy tale “Beauty and the Best” is on stage now at the charming and intimate Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. It is produced by two deeply committed and passionate advocates of theatre art Gloria Bennett and Jack J. Bennett. They have devoted their lives to providing a gate way for talented youth to explore and grow in the world of acting through their unique “Young Stars Theatre” which is now the resident theatre company at the Fremont Centre Theatre. Their latest effort, “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” employs two large and capable casts.
On the opening night I was treated to the “Blue Cast” in action. That is twenty six young but deeply enthusiastic actors bringing to life to a Disney classic. I will say that Act One had a few rough edges and wasn’t totally committed to the task at hand. But as the show moved into Act Two it seems as if the energy switch was thrown and the entire effort became thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable. I would attribute much of this to opening night jitters which fortunately did not take over the show.
Every show be it large or small, professional or amateur has its stand outs and “Beauty and the Beast, Jr” is no exception. Truly beautiful and amazing with a clear and charming voice is none other than Belle as portrayed by Cassidy Paige. My budding actress, theatre critic and most importantly granddaughter Somaya enthusiastically gave Cassidy Paige two thumbs up. I agree.
The tea pot was also outstanding. Okay more precisely it would be the clearly talented Miguela Soriano as Mrs. Potts but however you view her vocal presentations were excellent. And I will also offer kudos to Aidan Martin who was a very compelling Beast and Prince.
There was some obvious well done choreography throughout the show. One number I particularly enjoyed involved a choreographed expression of joy employing beer steins. Okay it is a kids show so root beer steins.
Overall and despite in my view a somewhat slow start it nevertheless proved to be a very worthy show deserving of attention. So make your reservations and stop in and be well entertaining by one of two enthusiastic young casts. The show is playing now through April 10th 2016 at the Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Avenue, South Pasadena, California 91030. Show times are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. and 7:0 p.m. You can find all of the information and make reservations at: http://www.musicandtheatre.com/tickets.htm.