Yesterday was quite the “personal day” that left me “indisposed” away from the keyboard. This morning, all’s well and happy to be with you! Knowing I would miss Paramount’s Beauty and the Beast yesterday for its Designer Run, its final run-through in our rehearsal hall, I sat in on Sunday morning for a sneak peek. Talk about a familiar story taking you by surprise! Director Amber Mak, with Co-Choreographer Todd Rhoades and Music Director Kory Danielson, master the depths of this “tale as old as time,” giving us insight into the true meaning of love, beauty and the regaining of one’s lost humanity. With minimal pieces of costumes and props, this cast captivates and astonishes with characters that dance and sing with such life and spirit, they completely transport and transform us as we watch. This is creativity in its purest form. Even without lights and sets, I could see the imagination and invention poured into this old world fable speaking to a new generation!

Tomorrow, the next level begins with full scenic, costume and lighting design, as the moment to moment technical cues are developed for one of the biggest shows Paramount has ever produced. Here’s where the company, with their collaboration and practice, will Level Up! Illusions and enchantment are painstakingly rehearsed, meticulous and exact, until smooth and effortless, it all looks like magic!

There is tremendous heart at work as well throughout this extraordinary, triple-threat ensemble typified in the principal performances of Belle and The Beast. At first sight, Beth Stafford Laird is winning as “a beauty and a funny girl…strange, dazed and distracted” and then her voice rises and beautifully sings already in rehearsal a triumph of realness and empathy. Paul-Jordan Jansen’s Beast is a brooding, restless monster desperate to break the spell affecting him and everyone in his palace. His baritone darkly reminds me of his Sweeney Todd, tormented, suffering consequences, all too human. This is a very special and timely reminder we are being gifted with this coming holiday season from Director Amber Mak. In these divisive days we live in, we tend to forget how much we have in common as a human being. Being human.

Previews begin a week from today!

Love and thanks,