Belle, Beast Score Big Numbers

Proof Casting, Beehive Swarming

Publicists like to list all sorts of numbers when touting big Broadway shows, but they’re usually resistable. Not this time. Somehow, the “facts and figures” on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast grabbed me, despite the usual resistance compounded by the added irritation of having to include the Disney name in the official title.

Fans of Belle, the Beast and Gaston know the story of the enchanted prince who can only escape his beastliness through love, and they don’t need these numbers to return to the Orpheum for this weekend’s five shows in the Omaha Performing Arts Broadway series. For the record, though, they’ll add to the 35 million or so who’ve caught the show in 21 countries.

I won’t tally the tankards in the town tavern, but be aware that you’ll see 81 wigs and 580 costume pieces. It all arrives on two buses and five trucks, which haul, among other things, one 1,700-pound set piece and 14 bicycles.

More numbers? It ran 13 years on Broadway. Tickets run $25 to $95. Shows start at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday. The Orpheum’s at 409 S. 16th St., but I doubt that anyone ever needed that street number with a big marquee blazing away in bright lights. What always amazes me is how many line up on 16th Street to wait for a right turn toward the parking lot. There is an uncrowded alternative entrance on 17th.

More important, B&B features such Alan Menken songs as “Be Our Guest.”

Meanwhile, check out the afternoon and 5 p.m. weekend performances of Gordon Cantiello’s Beehive revival at the Waiting Room in Benson. Kathy Tyree, Tiffany White-Welchen, Ginny Herman, et al, bring back the show that wowed ‘em at the Howard Street Tavern and in other reincarnations over the years.

You get Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Petula Clark and other vintage rockers from solid gold talents.

Auditions at 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Dec. 16 and 17, will give Jonathan Wilhoft a cast for Proof, the play that proves you can make math part of compelling drama. It also gives JW a chance to direct a show he starred in for Lorie Obradovich at Baby D. She’ll return the favor by being his stage manager for the Chanticleer production coming to Council Bluffs in early February.

He’s looking for a male about 50, another 20s to early 30s, and two 20 or so females. It’s a classy add to any actor’s credits.

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

posted at 06:11 pm
on Sunday, December 09th, 2012

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