What a great time we had last night at Miller Auditorium for the first of two performances of "Disney's Beauty and the Beast". Kathy and I had two young ladies, Lexie and Heidi, ages 7 and 6, who were enchanted by the musical.Seeing the musical through their eyes brings you back to what live theatre is supposed to be. Maybe it's because of what I do, or the fact that my son worked with the load-in crew, but I tend to watch to see "how they did that". And it's good to refocus on the actual performance.

Photo: Matthew Murphy

The cast is very talented. What jumped out at me was how good their voices are. I don't know if they're classically trained, but they sure appear to be. The lead actors, Belle (Jillian Butterfield), Beast (Ryan Everett Wood) and Cameron Bond (Gaston) were all of fine voice.

I also loved the comic timing of Patrick Pevehouse (Lumiere) and Samuel Shurtleff (Cogsworth) together, and Jake Bridges as Lefou. The female characters were brought to life by Emily Jewell (Mrs. Potts), Kelly Teal Goyette (Madame De La Grande Bouche) and Melissa Jones as Babette. Goyette in particular reminds me of some of the great perfomers of a century ago, like Ethel Merman or Kate Smith. The Philadelphia Flyers should have her come in to sing "God Bless America".

I know I'm going on but you can't not mention the entire cast. The big production numbers well executed flawlessly. One minor quibble would be the microphones could've been run a little louder at times, but then we were sitting near the orchestra pit, so it may have been only us. And nothing is more annoying the mic feedback, so it was fine.

Jillian Butterfield and Ryan Everett Wood in Beauty and the Beast at Miler Auditorium. Photo: Matthew Murphy

Still the geek in me kept wonder how certain effects were pulled off. But peeking behind the curtain would ruin the magic of everything, so I'll just say we had a really good time.