Go see the show Beauty and the Beast now being performed at the Southampton Cultural Center’s Center Stage. The quality of the live music, singing, acting, costumes and dancing is pure solid gold. If this is the most expensive production Michael Disher and the Southampton Cultural Center has ever produced it is money well spent! As per usual, Disher’s direction, vision, and competence shine within this production. It is another feather in his cap, it is a big success for the Southampton Cultural Center because most of all, the audience really enjoyed Beauty and the Beast.
On opening night I sat in the front row next Clio, a young 5th grader at John Marshall Grammar School. We were both equally mesmerized and thoroughly entertained by this production. At the end of the show we both joined by the whole audience in a long, loud standing ovation.
The positive energy of this production is amazing. Every big time musical must have at least one or two powerful performances to drive the show. Mary Sabo as “Belle” and Darren Ottati as “The Beast” were electric. Music Director Amanda Borsack Jones and the live orchestra optimized their talents. Ms. Sabo is both enchanting yet strong in the presentation of her character “Belle.” She won over the audience perhaps from the very utterance of her first lines. She is enchanting, her voice was pure silk and her acting and facial expressions are spot on.
With Ottati as “The Beast,” it was like he wasn’t even acting. Darren’s voice range is mind blowing and his body language was all confidence, power and comedy. He is a “ticket” all in himself!
The rest of the cast also helped propel the production! Marco Barrila (narrator/bookseller) was lovable and delivered his lines with great force. Daniel Becker (Belle’s father) also a personal favorite local actor of mine, did his usual outstanding and professional performance. Julie Crowley (villager) had great energy, Jonathan Fogarty (LeFou) personifies great comedic talents. Joey Giovingo (Monsieur D’Arque) was easily a crowd favorite while Elijah Jones (Chip), Katrina Lovett (villager), and Thomas Wheeler (the prince) do their roles competently and I applaud them.
Lastly I must add the charm factor of the families in the sold out audience (not one empty chair-some seating had to be added) was wonderful. Dozens of little ones were all over the theater holding their favorite stuffed Disney characters during the show. I felt like I was part of a community while watching this performance. It is a complete wonderful show, a successful effort to bring the “Greatest story ever told” to the East End of Long Island.
Shows will take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., through Sunday, March 25.
Tickets are $28 for general admission and $15 for students (under 21 with ID). Additionally, dinner/theatre packages will be offered at Plaza Café in Southampton, and brunch/theatre packages will be available at Edgewater in Hampton Bays before the Sunday matinees.
Southampton Cultural Center is located at 25 Pond Lane in Southampton. For more information, call 631-287-4377 or visit www.scc-arts.org.