The legend behind the classic of Beauty and the Beast has been told for centuries. It has several book versions and has also been adapted to the screen. One of the most intricate and elegant adaptations, however, is the Broadway musical production.
In the stage production, the audience is drawn into the world of the legend, as masterful lighting and swift scene changes create village, forest, castle, and many spaces in between. Lighthearted, yet with a somber undertone, the play draws spectators into cheering for Belle’s independent spirit, wincing at the Beast’s clumsy attempts to be a gentleman, and laughing at the flirtatious antics of Lumiere, all within the space of ninety minutes.
The experience is cathartic and breathtaking, yet instructive. The show provides for a raw purging of emotions, while at the same time teaching several valuable lessons. Beauty and the Beast is a classic example of how kindness and compassion can change even the hardest heart. It reminds us that being true to yourself is far better in the long run than changing to suit the tastes of others. We are reminded that the right person will love you for who you are.
In the end light defeats darkness, and the prince and the princess get married and live happily ever after. Is this a cliché ending? Perhaps, but it’s worth it. The story is unique and inspiring, truly a “tale as old as time.”