‘Beauty and the Beast Jr.’ will delight all ages

By Meredith Pechta | Jan 16, 2014
Janelle Schank as Belle and Pierce Lackey as Gaston star in “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” playing Jan. 17-Feb. 2 at the Village Theatre Second Stage, located across from the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett.

It’s only a couple of weeks old, but already The Village Theatre is having a very good new year.

Last week they opened “Les Misérables,” and this week, their Kidstage Productions opens Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast Jr.”

For those of you who are confused by the title, have no fear.  It is almost exactly the same as the original Broadway show – in an abridged version.

Kidstage is a foundation where children from grade school to high school can learn the art of acting and perform in a number of top-notch productions.

In this popular tale, a spoiled, cruel prince was cursed years ago and turned into a beast.  In this strange form he must earn the love of a maiden and learn to love her as well.

His servants were also transformed and are condemned to an equally bad fate, if the Beast doesn’t succeed.  After decades of loneliness, a young woman finally comes into the Beast’s life.  She’s Belle, a kind and smart girl who loves books.

At first, she believes him to have no redeeming values, but eventually sees the good in him, despite his flaws. This is, of course, the lesson to be learned from the story, and the universal hope in all of us – that we will meet someone who wants us, despite our flaws.

The costumes and the sets are exceptional. The musical numbers are terrific, and the cast is convincing. Edmonds resident Nate Thomsen leads the cast as the Beast. He plays the part with ferocity.

The role of Belle goes to Janelle Schank. She’s a lovely Belle and has a ball in the part.

In the illuminating part of Lumiere is Derek Hoyden. He obviously has a bright future ahead of him in acting if he chooses.

Benji Smith plays the fussy and punctual clock Cogsworth. He and Hoyden click in scenes they play together.

The part of pristine Mrs. Potts, who exhibits much common sense and motherliness, goes to Megan Langston.

Teigun Pesce plays her rambunctious son Chip. Although one of the youngest in the cast, he is up to the task, playing a teacup to perfection.

Jake Burleigh plays Belle’s eccentric father Maurice. He isn’t on the stage long, but makes a lasting impression.

The role of the vain and cold Gaston goes to Pierce Lackey. Next to the Beast, his part might be the most challenging, but he owns it.

And last but far from least is Matt Ircink as the much too devoted Lefou. He performs one of the best musical numbers as he raves about Gaston.

There are many other child actors in the ensemble who help bring the magic of “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” to life. Don’t miss this lovely recreation of a classic.

“Beauty and the Beast Jr.” is playing Jan. 17-Feb. 2 at the Village Theatre Second Stage, located across from the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett.

For ticket information call: (425) 257-8600.

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