If you had to choose to go to only one musical drama in Singapore this year, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast could very well be it. Having played for over 13 years on Broadway to more than 35million people, this timeless classic is finally here in Singapore for the very first time!
We were really blessed to be invited to attend the Opening Night last Saturday, which was a truly star-studded event attended by local celebrities like Hossan Leong, Sebastian Tan (Broadway Beng), Gold 90.5’s Vernetta Lopez, Denise Tan and Tim Oh.
Wey was very eager to go to his first ever Broadway Musical. Having watched this hit musical more than 10 years ago in New York City, where the hubs and I lived for awhile, I knew the little one was in for a great treat!
The Broadway musical follows very closely to the 1991 Academy Award winning animated film of the same name and the songs are familiar even for Wey, who had only just watched the animated film earlier in the month. Although he had some fears of seeing the Beast on stage, those fears soon melted away as the lights dimmed and the familiar music of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast started playing. Wey started clapping excitedly and so did the rest of the audience.
The musical starts with a rather dark narration of how the Prince came to be the Beast but quickly shifts to the bright and beautiful (almost happy) provincial town where Belle lives. The simple village life traps Belle (HILARY MAIBERGER) and she seeks comfort in books where she can dream of a life bigger than her present.
Watching Hilary Maiberger was like seeing a vision of the animated Belle come to life before your eyes. We were all blown away by her crystal clear and beautiful voice making every second, a musical treat. If you need a reason to watch the musical, she would be it.
I’ve always admired the spunk that Belle had. She’s intelligent and strong, having a mind of her own and obviously has lots of ideas and ideals and most importantly, she’s not afraid to be herself. And the village ‘hunk’, Gaston, who sees himself as God’s gift to women, is simply not her cup of tea. Belle is a modern woman trapped in a provincial town where women are still expected to play the damsel in distress and use nothing of their brains. And so she dreams of a life far away… away from feeling lonely where people cannot accept her for who she is.
Unfortunately, Gaston (ADAM DIETLEIN), with his many other village lady admirers, is set to make Belle, his wife… at all costs! We very much enjoyed Dietlein’s singing with his very deep voice that brought out the best of every song he sang. Indeed, his handsome stature made for very convincing acting.
The kids loved the way DARICK PEAD portrayed the Beast. He was the usual bad tempered impatient Beast but he was not terrifying or menacing. Pead drew laughter with his comical portrayal that was almost like a child’s tantrum at times.
No doubt, the children laughed because they could identify easily with the Beast in his tantrums as he learned that he will not get what he wants by force. I must admit however that it was almost cruel for Belle to say “No thank you.” to the Beast (just because he was rude earlier.. haha) after he tried very hard to ask her nicely, “Would you be so kind as to join me for dinner, ppplllleassseeeeeeee?” But everyone laughed!
As expected from such a long running successful Broadway musical as Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the presentation, lighting, costumes and set was perfect. It was eye-candy to say the least. There was great dancing and choreography and even the little one commented “Wow, they’re so good Mama! The mugs all hit at the same time!” He obviously enjoyed watching the cast dance with such great timing as they clinked the beer mugs together, it was spectacular!
Wey particularly loved the enchanted objects. I think they captured his imagination to see Mrs Potts (EMILY MATTHESON) and Lumiere (HASSAN NAZARI-ROBATI) in the ‘flesh’. He was thrilled to see Chip, played by LIAM CAMPORA, and exclaimed to me “Mama, it’s a little boy just like me!”
If you love a good love story, you would love this fairy tale Broadway Musical. When distrust, anger and repulsion turns into a beautiful friendship, love blossoms without Belle realising it. This was perhaps my favourite part when the two fall slowly but surely in love as Belle shares the story of King Arthur to the Beast.
Belle could fall in love with the Beast because she saw the gentle side of him. He loved her more than his need to possess her or hold her back for his own selfish needs… something that the self loving narcissist Gaston could faint understand. It reminds me of a familiar verse that I read at my wedding vows,
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT)
I had wanted very much for the little one to watch this musical because it is a story of sacrificial love and true beauty from within. I wanted Wey to realise that beauty was more than skin deep and very often people may wrongly conclude that the good looking are naturally good while the ugly are naturally bad. I think the message did get across because Wey spoke about the evil of Gaston even though he was handsome, both during and after the show.
The magic ended all too soon, after 2.5hours of enchanted singing and dancing with a happily ever after ending that we all so need sometimes. It was no wonder, that the Opening Night ended with a standing ovation of a very charmed crowd. And of course our boys gave their happy thumbs up for this world class Broadway Musical.
We had lots of fun at the Opening Night and part of me didn’t want to leave so soon. I know that many probably shared the same feeling because people seemed to linger around the halls of the theatre chatting with friends and were unhurried as they took photos after the musical. I even met my favourite Dim Sum Dolly and Gold90.5 Radio DJ Denise Tan after the show and stole some photos with her!
Wey had fun posing as The Beast (upon her suggestion! what a great sport) haha! It was certainly a night to remember.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in Singapore is definitely not to be missed and is suitable for all ages, affordability factor aside. It is a rare opportunity to catch such an award winning Broadway musical spectacular, plus it features a US cast! Actually, it was so good that I brought my mum on another night, and her verdict, “It was a perfect night!”
For more about the Broadway Musical Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, do click our preview here when we were able to meet the cast, and be amazed!
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We received tickets to the Opening Night for the purpose of this review. All opinions remain our own.
About Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Season: From 21st March 2015
Venue: MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands
Cast: The International Tour features a cast from the US
Tuesday – Friday 8:00pm;
Saturday: 2:00pm and 8:00pm
Sunday: 1:00pm and 5.00pm
From $65 – $190
* Excludes the booking fee of SGD$3 per ticket