To acquire wisdom, one must observe

‘Beauty and the Beast’ and Brandeis: a spectacular 24-Hour Musical for 2022

The 24-Hour Musical, a musical production that is taught, rehearsed, designed in the span of 24 hours, returned to the stage on Sept. 11. The musical choice for this year, “Beauty and the Beast,” tells a classic tale of love and not judging a book by its cover, and the 24-Hour cast and crew put on a beautiful display. 

The beauty of the 24-Hour Musical is that everyone knows that it’s not going to be perfect. The cast, crew and audience are all there to prioritize having fun over having perfection, and it’s a relaxed environment. Therefore, even though there were a few lulls and technical problems, I can say that I walked away saying that the show was great! To be completely honest, when I first heard that the musical was “Beauty and the Beast,” I was a bit disappointed. I assumed that I’d be seeing just a classic (boring) Disney romance. However, I was pleasantly surprised, and I think that the choices made by the 24-Hour cast and crew (both premeditated and improvisational) brought a new level of life and humor to the show that left me wanting to stream the songs upon going home. 

Speaking of songs (since it is a musical) one of my favorite performances of the night had to have been “Be Our Guest.” The song is one of the central pieces of “Beauty and the Beast’s” soundtrack, and I felt that the cast and choreographers made sure to deliver a memorable performance in turn. The choreography was full of energy, and the cast kept that energy up throughout the whole number. The various dance breaks allowed for various crew members to show off their skills, and I loved being able to witness such a wonderful performance! The opening number also served as a glimpse into what the show would be like, with beautiful vocals and acting choices throughout the number.

Speaking of acting choices, I found that the cast did a wonderful job taking the show and making it their own. Moments like the Beast (Cam Steinberg ‘26) being flicked off and the random masked individual sitting in the corner during Lumiere (Liam Delaney ’26) and Cogsworth’s (Garrett Molinari ’26) conversation invited the audience to laugh at what was being performed, and to enjoy the space being created. Even more, the moments of improvisation added an ever deeper level to the more informal space. I admire anyone who can pull from their surroundings and act off the top of their head, so seeing the actors on stage winging it in moments of uncertainty was not only impressive, but their choices of what to do were hilarious. I especially loved the “I don’t see her” scene between Mrs. Potts (Kennedi Bickam ’26) and Chip (LaRue Vigil ’26), Gaston’s (Greg Roitbourd ’26) mispronounciation of “rendezvous” (which honestly worked well for his character) and the Beast’s “You’ll come to dinner with me. That is not a request. Good night.” The story was still being carried out, but a new level was added to the characters. Secondly, each of the named characters’ actors poured life and energy into their roles, making the audience root for and laugh with them on stage. There was the occasional break in character, peppered with laughter from both the actor and the audience, but they would jump right back into the role and keep the story progressing. And that’s not even to say that said breaks were bad. If anything, the moment of mutual laughter just made the production and the experience more fun overall. In addition, I also want to give a big hand to the ensemble. They made sure to stay in character and act even if they weren’t in the spotlight (I distinctly remember someone yelling about their wife, and the sobbing animated objects during “Be Our Guest”). Everyone on stage did a great job, adding to the overall level of immersion into the story and helping make the show a delight to see!

On the more technical side, I admired how they were able to get certain elements and scenes across even with the time constraints on set development. Seeing the shop signs lowered from the ceiling was also a magical moment, and I’m sure the rest of the audience agreed, judging from their exclamations as the signs dropped into view. One of my favorite moments, in a combination of props and acting, was the display of the library, shown by a small tray of books and the delivery of the line describing said books as an entire library. It was both humorous and effective! Furthermore, the cast’s costumes came across clearly and were reminiscent of the Disney designs, and the stage crew running across the stage to place and remove set pieces was a hilarious addition to the show (which I picked up as an audience fan favorite). The crew did an awesome job creating a space for the actors to perform in and helping paint the image of “Beauty and the Beast” for the audience.

Ultimately, the cast and crew did a wonderful job providing a memorable experience. There were a few hiccups, but they pushed through and delivered a successful show. So, with the 24-Hour Musical wrapped up for the year, I am happy to say that it has only left me more excited for next year’s production, and confident in our theater community here at Brandeis.

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