Beauty and the Beast comes to Carson City

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Western Nevada Community College's Musical Theatre Company is breaking new ground the next two weekends with a production of the Broadway musical "Beauty and the Beast" in the Carson City Community Center.

In an unprecedented move, the Walt Disney Corp. has released performing rights for its Tony Award-winning Broadway blockbuster.

It's a modern version of the old fairy tale of beauty and beast, complete with elaborate costumes and music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. The show is a favorite for adults and children in countries all over the world.

Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" opened on Broadway in 1994 and is the seventh longest-running show in Broadway history. It was nominated for nine Tony awards, including Best Musical, and its Broadway cast album was nominated for a Grammy as Best Musical Show Album.

In Britain, "Beauty and the Beast" won the Olivier Award for Best Musical. The score, featuring songs including, "Belle," "If I Can't Have Her," "Be Our Guest" and the title song, are now favorites of children and adults.

Historically, Disney has refused to release rights to any of its works. The recent availability of six of its shows (two of them full-length - "Beauty" and "Aida") gives Nevadans the chance to see the show in Carson City.

Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Friday through May 22.

The musical animates the fairy tale of a young prince who is turned into a hideous beast when he vainly rejects an enchantress disguised as a crippled old woman. His curse cannot be broken until he learns to purely love another, and to have that love returned.

The spell extends to the prince's servants, who are slowly transformed into the objects they use most - feather dusters, candlesticks, dishes, clocks and teapots.

Belle, a scientist's daughter, finds her way to the Beast's castle and slowly develops an affection for him.

The most beautiful girl in the town, she is wooed by the egotistical Gaston, who attacks the Beast to win her hand.

Playing Belle is Julianna Erdesz, Leoney Berg plays the Beast, and Jerry Lowe plays Gaston, accompanied by Marcus Quiroga as his sidekick, Lefou. Lumiere (the candlestick) is played by Christopher Willson, Caitlin Papp is Mrs. Potts (the teapot), and David Tillitt is Cogsworth (the clock).

Some 80 singers and dancers complete the cast, accompanied by a live orchestra. Stephanie Arrigotti is the producer, director and orchestra conductor. Gina Kaskie-Davis is the choreographer, and Denise McMasters the costumer.

The show is sponsored, in part, by a $5,000 grant from Wells Fargo Bank.

Tickets are $18 general, $16 for students and seniors and $14 for youths 17 and younger. Block discounts are available for groups of 20 or more.

Tickets are at Comma Coffee, Maytan Music on South Center Street in Reno, and the Western Nevada Community College Performing Arts Office on the Carson City campus.

They may also be purchased by phone at 445-4249.


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