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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (article first published : 2008-08-29)

A sprinkling of Disney magic is in the Johannesburg air at the moment, after the international creative team touched down recently to oversee rehearsals for the local stage production of Beauty and the Beast.

The all-South African cast are rehearsing in preparation for the grand opening of this captivating family musical at Montecasino’s Teatro in October. It moves to Artscape in Cape Town in January 2009, before embarking on an overseas tour.

Ann Hould-Ward received a Tony Award for the awe-inspiring costumes she designed for the original Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast, and local audiences will be privileged to witness first-hand the delightfully creative and innovative outfits that have been specially flown in from abroad for use on the South African production.

Imagine the challenge of making enchanted household objects such as a wardrobe, a teapot and a clock look recognisable while not inhibiting the movements of the actors that play these characters? This will offer some idea of the ingenuity and skill that went into designing their costumes. In dreaming up these amazing ensembles to transport children and adults into a fantasy world, Hould-Ward was aided by an extremely demanding and discerning potential audience member – her 11-year-old daughter, Leah.

Now that the international creative team has arrived, the South African production is set to start shaping up and assuming the sparkle that has become the hallmark of this Broadway musical, which has already charmed more than 35 million people in 13 countries around the world.

South African resident director Alan Swerdlow will be joined by international director Julie Dunnley-Wendt and her team of crack creatives, as they forge this fairytale that’s as old as time, but as enchanting and fresh as ever.

Produced by Pieter Toerien and Hazel Feldman, Beauty and the Beastpromises audiences a glorious theatrical outing that will dazzle the senses and fire up the imagination. Booking is open at Computicket.




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