Disclaimer: Due to my association with the Tampa Bay Bloggers I was provided four tickets to see Beauty and the Beast at the Straz Center. All opinions are my own.
Growing up, Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite tales. I knew the traditional story of a wealthy merchant who lost his fortune and upon his return from a trip, stopped and picked a rose from a beautiful garden to give to his favorite daughter. This garden was owned by a beast, and to make a long story short, the beautiful, kind daughter ends up at the castle where the Beast becomes her "servant."
But what made this my favorite fairy tale was the description of the library and all the wonderful books.
I have loved libraries and books since I was a small child, so my growing up and becoming a librarian was really no surprise to anyone.
In the early 1990's Disney produced a full length animated film version of my beloved fairy tale, and I was entranced.
The library of the original fairy tale came to life on the big screen.
And in April 1994, Beauty and the Beast became Disney's first animated film to be adapted into a Broadway musical.
Last night I was invited, along with my daughters, to see the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast at the Straz Center in Tampa. My beautiful friend Hope also joined us.
I was so excited. How would they bring my beloved library to life?
The musical opened with a beautiful Belle, (played by Jillian Butterfield) with her nose buried in a book.
And the townsfolk sing:
Look there she goes that girl is so peculiar
I wonder if she's feeling well
With a dreamy far-off look
And her nose stuck in a book
What a puzzle to the rest of us is Belle
And it was during this scene that my middle child, my daughter Ella, leans over to me and her older sister Haley, and says in a joking manner, "that Belle is just like the two of you with your noses always stuck in a book."
And we were hooked. This musical was fantastic! Simply fantastic. The girls and I sang along with the songs, and laughed at the characters.
Gaston played by Cameron Bond, and Lefou played by Jake Bridges brought the house down!
But Lumiere, played by Patrick Pevehouse was my favorite character, though the supporting cast were ALL just fantastic!
SPOILER: Beauty fell in love with the Beast IN THE LIBRARY. She read to him the Adventures of King Arthur and became smitten with the gentle Beast. The set design for the library was great! Not too ornate, not too shabby, it was just right.
I also took my little girls for a pre-show treat and we were so thrilled to see a special Beauty and the Beast menu!!
You can see Beauty and the Beast at the Straz Center in Tampa through May 10, 2015. Trust me, you don't want to miss this show!