Be a Guest at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast

Belle (Audrey Hare, at center), surrounded by company. Photo by Liz Lauren.
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It is a tale as old as time.  The classic tale, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is playing this summer at Navy Pier in Chicago. Based on the Academy Award-winning film and Tony Award-winning stage musical this 75-minute version is the perfect outing for all ages.  Directed and choreographed by Amber Mak, the company features Emily Ann Brooks, Jason Michael Evans, Tim Foszcz, Audrey Hare, Evie Hsu, Layla Joan, Christopher Kale Jones, James Earl Jones II, Michael Kingston, Sam Linda, Maggie Malaney, Harriet Nzinga Plumpp, Rebecca Prescott, Maya Rowe, David Sajewich, Maxel McLoud Schingen, and Aalon Smith

Photo by Liz Lauren

Walking into the theater, I thought  it was fitting and fanciful that the stage had a book theme reminiscent of Belle’s love for literature. In case you are not familiar with the story, the tale is the Beast, who is really a prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress and Belle, a young woman in a provincial town. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end, and he will be transformed back. Perhaps Belle can be the girl to help break the spell along with the help of the ever supportive enchanted household. 

Joining me for the performance were my two nieces, for the youngest, it was her first stage musical. Having watched the film many times, it was fun to watch all the beloved musical numbers on stage. And while the Beast coming through the aisles ignited some gasps from my youngest guest, the ensemble was just fabulous, talented and delightful to watch with “Be Our Guest” being one of our favorite numbers.  

Photo by Liz Lauren

You don’t want to miss this production. It is a perfect summer outing  for all ages. I’m even now being asked when we’re going to watch it again.

The production runs July 14 – August 20, 2023, with performances on Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m., Thursdays – Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre,  800 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. Tickets start at $26 children (12 & under) and  $42 adults. After each performance, audiences have the opportunity to meet costumed members of the cast in the lobby for conversation, autographs, and photos.

For more information, visit chicagoshakes.com/beauty or connect on social media at @chicagoshakes or #cstbeauty

Photo by M. Navarro

ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
Regional Tony Award-recipient Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a bold and innovative year-round season—plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside nationally recognized education programming serving tens of thousands of students, teachers, and lifelong learners each year. Founded in 1986, the Theater’s onstage work has expanded to as many as twenty productions and 650 performances annually. Chicago Shakespeare is dedicated to welcoming the next generation of theatergoers; one in four of its audience members is under the age of eighteen. As a nonprofit organization, the Theater works to embrace diversity, prioritize inclusion, provide equitable opportunities, and offer an accessible experience for all. On the Theater’s three stages at its home on Navy Pier, in classrooms and neighborhoods across the city, and in venues around the world, Chicago Shakespeare is a multifaceted cultural hub—inviting audiences, artists, and community members to share powerful stories that connect and inspire. www.chicagoshakes.com.

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