By Ken Martin

SHORT-LIVED!: Well, my recent retirement sure didn’t last long! However, I did say that if something presented itself, I would write again. Something did.

ALL BEAUTY, NO BEAST: Last Sunday Patty and I attended the matinee performance of the CVHS Drama and Musical Department’s “Beauty and the Beast” at our Center for the Performing Arts. I sort of looked forward to it with a “Ho-hum. We’ll go to support the kids” attitude. Was I in for a surprise!

This turned out to be an ultra-first-class production in absolutely every way. The singing, the acting, the costumes, the sets and props, and the stage crew were flawless. We have seen professional productions (Woodminster, Melodyland, etc.) that didn’t measure to this show.

The first surprise was the superb sets. Huge and colorful, they were almost a show in themselves. The scenery changes were beautifully handled by the stage crew. Props, like the ingenious ancient “car”, were clever and entertaining. These all were enhanced by outstanding lighting.

The singing, acting, and dancing went far beyond any expectations that I held for the students. I am reluctant to name any standout performers because there really weren’t any. Secondary characters easily matched the performances of the lead parts. The depth of the cast and chorus is almost unbelievable. Even the bunch of ditzy, love-sick girls enamored of the lead character carried their parts with an amusing perfection.  

All scenes were near-perfect but some stand out like the one where the entire cast sings and dances to the rhythm they create by beating tin cups together. Again, the perfection and precision here was amazing. It is impossible for me to adequately describe this. You had to be there. You can be there next weekend.

The costumes were awesome. I wondered how they would handle fantasy characters that were easily done in the animated movie version but certainly more difficult to present on the stage, but I wonder no more. Characters like the clock, the candelabra, the tea pot, and the armoire were so clever and ingenious that, like the sets, were almost their own show.

I’m running out of superlatives here but I have to comment on the dancers. To get so many students to dance so well is a tribute to the CVHS teachers. The Can-Can done by these girls, with high kicks, leg twirling, and splits, was only about one degree shy of the Rockettes.

By now you probably realize that I loved this show. It was near perfect, one of the best I have ever seen anywhere. I kept waiting for the dropped line or the missed cue but they never came, at least that I could see. All the elements of this production were individually of such high quality that, when combined, they leave me without the words of praise needed to describe the result.

If you haven’t seen this show yet, you still have a chance. Take it! There are three more performances coming up this weekend – Friday, December 7, and Saturday, December 8, at 7:30 PM and Sunday, December 9, at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $12 to $20 (a bargain to see a show like this) and are available at the Center Box Office (Thursday and Friday, 3:00 to 5:00 PM) and the CV Adult School office. DON’T MISS THIS SHOW! Patty and I are considering seeing it again. It is that good!