Beauty and the Beast at the La Mirada Theatre

Everyone has their thing. The mass majority usually split their interests in sports, movies and TV. Lucky enough for me, I found all of those and the hidden gem that is Musical Theatre.

Just next to performing on stage (and occasionally writing about it), watching someone enjoy the same passion is one of the many privileges I enjoy most in the world. To take in the magic of live performance is incomparable to anything else I’ve ever been able to do.

This past Saturday, I experienced just that, and in Orchestra too! My mom bought my siblings and I tickets to see Beauty and the Beast at the La Mirada Theatre, well known for being a hub for cultural enrichment, whether it be musicals, plays, or concerts. It has been recognized countless times by Broadway blogs and organizers, as well as many talented actors, actresses, and technical management professionals.

It was the place that I saw a performance celebrating Native American History in sixth grade, and the same building I sat in front of, on the steps leading in, before every opening night of a show since I’d started attending La Mirada High School.

This show, Beauty and the Beast, would be the first Musical I’d seen at the theatre, though. A new growth in our relationship, if you will.

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A Horrible Quality Picture of My Cousin, Armando, And I At The Matinee

Before heading over to the theater, we picked up my cousin Armando, who was going to be coming with us to see his first ever live musical. We sang in the car and played iMessage games the whole half an hour ride there until we stopped at the Wendy’s just behind the theater to grab some lunch.

Our clocks read 1:40 and it was time to wrap up lunch and head over to the theatre across the parking lot. My mom grabbed the tickets from the car and we headed inside, scanning the tickets and heading to our seats in the orchestra section. It was a day of two different firsts, a) seeing a show at the La Mirada Theatre and b) sitting in the orchestra section of any theatre.

As we waited for the show to start, we talked about the actors and actresses performing and observing the crowd that surrounded us. A 2:00pm matinee meant three types of audience members: kids, tired parents, and excited grandparents bouncing in their seats almost as much as their grandchildren.

The lights dimmed, the show began, and one thing became very apparent to me: this was going to be a great show.

Now, as it was a community theatre production, I’ve trained myself to expect to be disappointed, and hope to be dazzled. So, I went in with expectations and hopes, and both were met quite well. But most of them were also exceeded, in the best ways possible.

The entire first act was a wonder, the ensemble created of some of the most talented professionals I’ve seen in is level of production. The silly girls were most notable because they were the perfect amount of shrill and air-headed, a combination that led to the exaggerated reactions that drew nothing but laughter from the audience.

Gaston and Lafou’s moments were enjoyable at most points in the show. They did, however, need to work on perfecting their stage fights and hits -something I know is the most difficult thing to do in a way that conveys accurate pain and close hits in the view of the audience.

“Gaston” was my favorite number of the first act, all due to the astounding coordination of the ensemble. The cups were my main focus of fascination, the synchronization beautiful, creating powerful music on their own.

The song that closed out the second act, though, reminded me of why I didn’t favor Disney musicals. They were meant for little kids and because of this, all actions and emotions were required to be overdramatized for little kids to be able to pick up the joy or despair the character feels. So, while I couldn’t argue that the actors were doing exactly what their job description listed for them, I also couldn’t deny how uncomfortable and almost funny most of the overdramatic movements of the actors were.

The second act came around and, after assuring my cousin that there was a whole other act where the rest of the story would play out, we sat down to enjoy the end of the show.

No matter the production, no matter the actors, I always end up absolutely adoring Mrs. Potts, Chip, Lumiere, Clogsworth, and the rest of the castle’s staff. The characters are much to loveable to ignore, especially in this complany’s portrayal. Mrs. Potts had a lovely voice, and Chip was too adorable to bare (he also had a hell of a voice for someone so small.). Lumiere and Clogsworth had entertaining rapport and impeccable puns.

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My Sisters Waiting For The Show To Begin

The show was great, and the view from the orchestra was better than I expected. I have a lot of takeaways from the show, many of them most of you should keep in mind:

  • Matinees are the best time to take children to enjoy theatre
  • Stage combat is hard as heck
  • Mrs. Potts and Chip are my favorite mother-son duo
  • Orchestra seats are the greatest gift to receive
  • Passion shines through in the most unexpected places
  • Digital sets are here to stay
  • Lighting is never a thing to take lightly
  • Tech and orchestra are as beautiful as the actors and are the reason any show that’s running keeps going in the race
  • My cousin Armando will sing to every Disney Song on record
  • I will forever and always fall in love with the talents of the ensemble members, regardless of the show or company.

Community, College, and High School productions belong to every single community where someone could be touched or inspired in a way they never have been before, and that’s everywhere. One show could be that something magical that encourages someone to pursue a career in the arts, and the possible effect of that should be enough to encourage you to go out and seek these beautiful pieces of art.

Go support your local community theater’s spring musical, go contribute funds by snagging a ticket to a college theatre, go to your niece’s and nephew’s high school shows. Whatever, wherever, whenever, go experience live art. It can change your life for good, and make what’s good even better.

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Hi guys! Thanks so much for reading my blog post!

Sorry for the delay! But as I said on my Instagram page, exciting things are coming July 1st, later on this summer!

Lots of fun things are coming up, and I’m really excited to bring you along with me to experience and read about them!

As usual, like and comment if you please, I’d love to learn about you and your thoughts on my writing or my blog so far! If you have any thoughts on this post or have any suggestions for what you’d like to see from me in the future, please let me know! I’d love to hear from you all!

Thank you all so much, and I’ll be back on Wednesday with something good to say (I hope)!

Until then!

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Kate Santos

 

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