Olney Theatre Center’s remount of its acclaimed 2021 production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast began its return engagement November 9 and continues through January 1, 2023, on the Mainstage. Marcia Milgrom Dodge again directs.
Jade Jones, a self-described plus-sized, queer Black woman who received two Helen Hayes Award nominations for her performances in School Girls, or the African Mean Girls Play (Round House Theatre) and Into the Woods (Ford’s Theatre), returns to the role of Belle. Evan Ruggiero, who continued to pursue a dancing career after losing a leg to cancer as a teenager and has gone on to become a Drama Desk-nominated performer, co-stars as the Beast.
The production also features newcomers Kelli Blackwell (A.D. 16) as Mrs. Potts, Helen Hayes Award winner Tracy Lynn Olivera (Roald Dahl’s Matilda: The Musical) as Madame de la Grande Bouche, and Ariana Caldwell (Constellation’s Once On This Island) as Chip, with returning cast members Michael Burrell as Gaston, Bobby Smith (Elf) as Lumiere, Dylan Arredondo as Cogsworth, John Sygar as Lefou, Sasha Olinick as Maurice, and Hailey Ibberson as Babette.
The ensemble includes Conor James Reilly, Miya Hamashige, Ariel Messeca, Michael Wood, Selena Clyne-Galindo, Erica Leigh Hansen, Tyler White, and Megan Tatum with Shiloh Orr and Graciela Rey as swings.
"This magical production had a nationally-recognized impact on the thousands of kids and adults who saw it last year," said Olney Theatre Artistic Director Jason Loewith in an earlier statement. "But thousands more lost their chance due to December's COVID wave, so we're bringing it back... and it'll be even better than before. Jade Jones and Evan Ruggiero return to prove, powerfully and proudly, that every one of us is beautiful."
The production also has choreography by Josh Walden, music direction by Walter "Bobby" McCoy, fight choreography by Robb Hunter, scenic design by Narelle Sissons, costume design by Ivania Stack, wig design by Ali Pohanka, lighting design by Colin K. Bills, and sound design by Matt Rowe. John Keith Hall is the stage manager.
Based on the Disney animated film of the same name, Beauty and the Beast boasts music by Alan Menken and lyrics by the late Howard Ashman, with additional songs with music by Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice. The book is written by Linda Woolverton.
Check out new production photos below: