The Disney favorite “Beauty and the Beast” will take on a new vision locally as two African American actresses will portray lead roles in the production scheduled May 11 through June 10 at Casa 0101 Theater, 2102 E. First St. in Boyle Heights.
The production, “Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical,” is being presented in association with the office of Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo and El Centro Del Pueblo and will feature a 28-member cast of which African American actress Samantha M. Lawrence will share the role of “Belle” with a second actress, Andrea Somera, and Jacquelin Schofield, also Black, will split the role of “Mrs. Potts” with a second actress, Abbe Drake.
The award-winning story follows Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and a “beast,” who is actually a handsome young prince who resides in a luxurious castle in France. When and old beggar woman (herself an enchantress) asks the prince for shelter from the freezing cold, the prince shuns the old woman for her repulsive appearance and she returns the insult by transforming him into a hideous monster.
The enchantress then casts a magic spell on the prince’s castle—including his good-natured servants—who are transformed into household objects to reflect their different personalities. Ashamed of his new appearance, the beast conceals himself inside the castle with a “magic mirror” serving as his only window to the outside world, along with an enchanted rose which will bloom once he reaches his 21st birthday. But time is of the essence and the beast must learn to love a woman and earn her affection in return before the final petal falls off the rose wherein the spell will finally be broken and the beast will return to his original self as the prince. If he does not accomplish this task, he will remain a beast forever and the entire household will be doomed for eternity.
“Following the huge success of our first presentation of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical,” we are honored to bring the celebrated production back for an encore engagement, in partnership with CASA 0101 Theater, TNH Productions and El Centro Del Pueblo,” Cedillo said. “Our production consists of a multicultural cast, offering a great opportunity to bring our entire community together for a family theatre at its best.”