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'Beauty, Beast' wows audiences

By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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El Dorado Musical Theatre’s production of “Disney’s Beauty & the Beast” is sure to garner accolades. From song-and-dance numbers pulled off to perfection and top-notch acting, this cast of 130 deserves praise for their work. The cast is split into two groups of 65 actors each — Rose and Mirror. Each one takes on different performance times at Three Stages’ main auditorium. I happened to catch the Mirror cast, so this review is based on that group, but I’m sure both are superb. I’ve seen actors from both groups in previous productions and they are always a delight to watch. Accompanying me on the Mirror cast’s opening night were my two co-reviewers — 13-year-old Cian and 12-year-old Parker. The sets were great and it’s hard to believe they were crafted by volunteers. The expansive stage at Three Stages allows the group to get into more elaborate set designs. I’ve watched this group evolve over the last few years and they have really started raising the bar. For acting, in one of her last performances with the group, is Katherine Sorgea. The 20-year-old Folsom Lake College student will soon be aged out of the EDMT program (designed for kids between the ages of 6 and 20). Sorgea dons the blue and white dress of Belle, the heroin in the “tale as old as time.” When I spoke to her during rehearsals, she said, “This was one of the first Disney movies I saw in the movie theater. … The character is so well known. This is like a dream come true for me. Every girl wants to be a Disney princess.” Her enthusiasm and love for the part came through loud and clear. Braiden Wells, fresh off an Elly win for his role as Edna in “Hairspray,” managed to tap into some primal energy to embody the Beast. Deep voice, growls and prosthetics allowed Wells, also a Folsom Lake College student, to bring the creature to life. Rounding out the cast was Jonathan Cranmer as Gaston, the brutish hunter with his sights set on marrying Belle. Cranmer’s take on the self-absorbed character was expertly done. If you’re familiar with the film, not to worry, the stage adaptation has many new songs and dialogue. I asked by two co-reviewers who their top picks might be. “I really like Lumier (Alex Levy),” Parker said. “He was really funny.” Cian also tapped Lumier as his favorite. “Babbette (Kaileen Teter) was really good, too,” he said. “They were my favorites.” In addition to the main three characters, my personal picks are Cogsworth (Asher Dubin), LeFou (Jon Leadbetter) and Mrs. Potts (Helen Regula). They were superb. I highly recommend seeing this show. It’s appropriate for the entire family. For more on this show, go to the Telegraph’s website, folsomtelegraph.com or edhtelegraph.com, and keyword search “beast.” * * * “Disney’s Beauty & the Beast” Who: Presented by El Dorado Musical Theatre When: 7 p.m., Nov. 3-5, 10-12; 2 p.m. Nov. 5-6, 12-13 Where: Three Stages, 10 College Parkway, Folsom Tickets: $15-$29 Bargain nights: $14.50 all seats for Nov. 3, 10 Information: edmt.info, threestages.net Rating: 5 (out of 5 stars)