“Beauty and the Beast” Reimagined at Olney Theatre


Friday night’s opening performance of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” has been cancelled for “a non-COVID-related health issue.”

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, a tale as old as time, has been reimagined in a new production at Olney Theatre Center.

Opening on Friday, the show, directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, is changing the norm when it comes to casting, featuring Jade Jones as Belle and Evan Ruggiero as the Beast. Both portray the leads of the classic Disney love story without conforming to ableist or Eurocentric ideals of beauty.

“Anybody can play a character, because you are playing a character,” said Jones in a preview video on the Olney Theatre Center’s website. Ruggiero added, “Can you play this if you’re not disabled, can you play this if you are disabled? Why can’t I play that part, how come I’m not getting the opportunity?”

Dodge, who also directed the production of “Once” at Olney Theatre Center, has said that the story is the same, but the characters “expand the definition of beauty for the 21st century.”

“It’s not being rewritten; there’s no lyric changes; there’s no text changes. We are doing the play, but we are digging in and finding some deeper meaning in those relationships,” Dodge said in an interview with Alissa Klusky, Production Dramaturg for the show. “I think it’s really powerful, and I think it will help give new context to lots of first-time theatre goers who are coming to see themselves depicted on stage.”

Audiences can also expect old-fashioned special effects during the show with just lighting, scenery, choreography, and staging aiding in storytelling, according to Dodge. Olney Theatre Center recommends the performance for the whole family, saying on its website that “If this were a film it would be rated G.”

Additionally, Olney Theatre Center is offering “A Parent’s Guide to Beauty and the Beast,” on their website with questions for parents to go over with their children before and after the show. Questions include “What makes a person beautiful?” and “What is one way you can stand up for a friend who has been bullied?”

The production will run through Jan 2. The venue will be employing normal seating in the orchestra and socially distanced seating in the mezzanine. Masks are required for all guests, as well as proof of vaccine for all who are eligible. Tickets are available online or by calling the box office.

Photo Credit: Olney Theatre Center

Related post:

Performance Venues Will Continue to Enforce Masking, Vaccinations for Shows

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Margaret Attridge

About Margaret Attridge

Margaret Attridge is a Fall 2021 Intern with MyMCM from the University of Maryland, College Park. Contact her at mattridge@mymcmedia.com.


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