Beauty and the Beast is a tale not quite as old as time but still rather old and now PHAMALy (the physically handicapped actors & musical artists league) has brought their version of the production to the Space Theatre. However, in true PHAMALy style, director Steve Wilson has tweaked parts of the show to incorporate his actor’s disabilities.
Eight year old, Jaylen Dionta James plays the role of the young prince banished from his kingdom for being imperfect in his parent’s eyes because well, he is blind. Without love he becomes spoiled, ungrateful and selfish. So when the witch turns the boy into the beast she restores his sight so that he may see how hideous he has become.
Jenna Bainbridge, plays Belle, the smart and beautiful girl; the town just doesn’t understand. Although Bainbridge walks with a visible gait, from the moment she opens her mouth to speak or sing the gait disappears.
Daniel Traylor and Mark Dissette make a perfect duo for the roles of Lumiere and Cogsworth. The two embody the spirit of their characters. “Steve Wilson is a genius. They (PHAMALy/Steve Wilson) make such great accommodations. He cares about the entire cast and it’s an honor to work with him,” says Traylor.
Regan Linton plays Lefou and with perfect comic timing and flawless delivery, she steals the show and despite being limited to the restraints of a wheelchair, Linton’s physical comedy is brilliant. Her portrayal of Lefou makes Gaston (Stephen Hahn) and her fellow cast members shine — the perfect sidekick in every way.
Leonard E. Barrett Jr., a PHAMALy regular, plays the role of the Beast. He showcases the many complicated layers of the Beast, revealing new emotions bit by bit as the show progresses.
Lindsay Giraldi-Palmer makes for a playful and enticing Babette. Kathleen Traylor back from a hiatus plays the sweet and caring Mrs. Potts alongside Molly Nash as her daughter Chip, when the two reunite after becoming human again the moment could bring a tear to even the coldest of humans.
Beauty and the Beast may be the same story we all know and love but the PHAMALy production truly highlights the shows central theme that it’s what’s on the inside that truly counts.
Catch the PHAMALy production of Beauty and the Beast now through August 15, 2010 with two special performances August 26 & 27 at the Arvada Center Amphitheatre.