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Creating Summer Memories at MTOC Production of Beauty and the Beast

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Beauty and the Beast

Once Spring break is over and we are on the tail end of the school year my mind starts thinking about summer.  I am blessed to be a stay at home mom but by making that choice, we went from a dual income home to a single one which means less money on summer camps and more creative planning.  So once Spring break is over I go into plan mode.  From museums to parks, festivals to random road trips our summer days are filled with memory making moments.  One of my family’s favorite summer musts is going to Musical Theatre Orange County’s (MTOC) summer production.

MTOC

I got turned on to MTOC in 2014 when I saw Tarzan The Musical.  From the jaw dropping sets and phenomenal acting I was hooked.

Tarzan at the Musical Theatre

Mary Poppins at the Musical Theatre

As I was researching our summer activities I decided to go to MTOC’s webpage www.mtoc.org to see what they had planned for summer 2016 and I smiled, it was Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  As a teen of the 90s Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite Disney cartoons.

Amazing Beauty and the Beast production

I loved how smart Belle was, how fearless and strong willed.  She spoke to me like no other princess and I know she had the same effect on thousands of other teen girls who were a little quirky like me.  There was no doubt in my mind that MTOC would take my beloved cartoon and turn it into a beautiful production, which of course they did.  I think the reason why MTOC does such an amazing job on all their productions is because of their love of theater.  For them it’s not about getting the show out to make money it’s about the art, their love of the art.  Their love and desire to teach youth about professional theater from directing, choreographing, sound design and set design to costumes, singing, lighting and acting.

Neka with the star of Beauty and the Beast

They even bring in seasoned professionals to give the younger actors a chance to learn the trade.  What an amazing experience it must be for a child, who is interested in theater, to be able to watch and learn as well as ask questions to better their craft, it’s rather unique to have that.  Year after year I see some of the same faces and I can tell how much they have grown in their range and abilities.  When you see a child maybe 10 years of age, in a lead role with so many lines, succeed as they do, you know that they have a great support team behind them.  Just as you would expect of any Broadway caliber show, MTOC brings their A game.  The show begins with the tale of how a young selfish prince shuns a witch and is turned into a beast.

The talented cast in Beauty and the Beast

Once the epilogue ends, you are transported to a poor provincial town in France and see a young girl strolling in the market place completely obvious about the townspeople singing about her.  I have no idea how Katie Perry did it but she sounded just like Belle from the cartoon.  She has the loveliest voice and yes I am completely guilty of singing a lot along with the musical.  It’s not just her, the entire cast was wonderful.

With the cast of Beauty and the Beast

From dancing, their amazing costumes and accents, they brought their A game and then some.  I was really interested in seeing how MTOC was going to transform their actors into various objects like a clock, teapot, plate, candlestick and as well as the Beast. The mouth of the Beast moved, I have no idea how they did this but the actory had a Beast mask and as it spoke the mouth moved!  Seriously how did they do that? The before and after transformation of costumes were beautiful and very thought out.  The once teapot Mrs. Potts transformed into a beautiful gown that had the same color scheme as the teapot she once was.  The same was true of all characters from Lumiere, Gogsworth and Babette.

backstage of Beauty and the Beast

My favorite costume was that of Laura Peake’s Madame de la Grande Bouche.  As the chest of drawers she was able to outfit Belle and still look chic doing it. Did I mention they had dancing plates, tapping forks and shimming salt and pepper?  Oh yeah I almost forgot the cancan number done by the napkins, loved it.  So I have to confess something Gaston (Ian Hock) and (LeFou) Alexander Ortiz killed me.  I completely loved them and wanted more of them.  So much so that I think that they need their own variety show.   Gaston and LeFou were their cartoon characters down to the chest hair and mullet.  Oh and don’t forget the muscles!  Gaston not only had even last inch of himself covered in hair but he sure gave the muscles from Brussels a run for his money.  Each time Gaston and LeFou set foot on stage I laughed and enjoyed their antics.  I am pretty sure that by the end of production Alexander will be covered in bruises from head to toe but it will be so worth it.

Naz and her kids at the premiere of Beauty and the Beast

Now for the FYI about MTOC shows.  Their shows run over the span of two weekends with an average of 6-7 shows and because they are so popular they often sell out.  So if you are interested in seeing their performance you need to buy your ticket immediately at www.mtoc.thundertix.com/events/79645.  Beauty and the Beast will be running July 22 – 31st. The show is held at the beautiful PYLUSD Performing Arts Center in Placentia.  They offer orchestra and mezzanine seat at great prices and in all honesty there isn’t a bad seat in the house so you don’t need to worry if you don’t have front row seats.  Also if you stay a little bit after the show, you may be lucky like my daughter and take pictures with the talented and gracious cast.

Beauty and the Beast play

Musical Theatre Orange County is a 501c3 non-profit organization supported through personal and corporate donations.  To make a donation, buy tickets to Beauty and the Beast or learn more about MTOC please visit their website at www.mtoc.org.

Beauty and the Beast at the Musical Theatre

I’m an OC mom of two and photographer. I love living in Southern California and want to expose my children to all that it offers. I love taking my kids on adventures and capturing their every moment so much so that my kids find it odd if I don’t take their pictures. You can see my work on facebook.com/photosbynaz.
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