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article imageOp-Ed: Beauty and the Beast takes stage in Toronto Special

By Bryen Dunn     Dec 3, 2010 in Entertainment
Toronto - Ross Petty Productions presents the premiere production of Beauty and the Beast - The Savagely Silly Family Musical. For 15 consecutive years the elegant Elgin Theatre is once again the venue for Petty's annual holiday hijinx.
Once again, for the 14th time in 15 years, Ross Petty casts himself as the force of farcical evil, Barnum von Cowell. These family fun fests have become a beloved holiday tradition for thousands, and Petty's experience has taught him to edge on his audience as soon as his character arrives on stage. Once again this production is filled with a cacophony of sound, over-the-top acting, wonderful singing, exuberant dancing, brilliant ad libs, and more Canadiana references than being on a date with Bob and Doug McKenzie. It's also quite amusing to hear the predominantly youngster audience boo Sarah Palin references and giggle when a picture of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is projected on an overhead screen.
Don't look for dancing candlesticks or singing clocks, they have been unceremoniously cast aside by animal pop stars as magically created by the evil Barnum von Cowell. Shy Prince Edgar enters into a Faustian deal with Barnum and inadvertently becomes the Beasty Boy of the title. Our Beauty is the apple of Edgar's eye and even she cannot escape the malevolent spell of von Cowell.
One of the most unexpected, yet fittingly appropriate characters is Aunt Plinsky, played by Kids in the Hall prankster Scott Thompson. No stranger to women's clothing – one of Thompson's most unforgettable impersonations is of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – Thompson took to the role of Beauty's guardian like a mob at the opening of a new Victoria's Secret shop!
"As a long-time fan of Kids in the Hall, I'm delighted that Scott will be joining us in our world premiere of Beauty and the Beast." states Petty. "Our holiday shows at the Elgin draw inspiration from Monty Python, and Scott and the Kids are the Canadian equivalent. I look forward to sharing the stage with one of Canada's zaniest comedians", he affirms.
Born in North Bay and raised in Brampton, Scott Thompson is best know as a member of Canada's famed sketch comedy troupe Kids in the Hall, and later as a regular on The Larry Sanders Show. Since then, he has also guest-starred in several Canadian and American series and appeared in feature films including Mickey Blue Eyes with Hugh Grant, has toured live with Kids in the Hall, hosted the Genie Awards, and went undercover on FashionTelevision. The Kids recently returned to CBC-TV with the smash comedy Death Comes to Town.
Directed by Ted Dykstra, choreographed by Tracey Flye, with brilliant music direction by Mark Camilleri that incorporates the latest top 40 grooves with show dialogue. Listen for Beyonce, Pointer Sisters, and Grand Funk Railroad. Lorna Wright and Nicholas Hune-Brown provide the witty script writing, which seems to be updated on a daily basis, hence the references to Wikeleaks.
As for other cast members, 2005 Canadian Idol winner Melissa O'Neil takes on the lead role of Beauty, while Jake Epstein plays her male counterpart as the Beast. Keep your eye out for cameo appearances by Justin Beaver and Lady Baa Bas as well. The "commercial breaks" throughout the show are a great diversion done with extreme finesse by incorporating cast members into the sponsored messages. The best has got to be Thompson's Queen Elizabeth visit to the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto.
Beauty and the Beast, The Savagely Silly Family Musical - "Celebrating 15 years of Fractured Fairy Tales"
Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge Street, Toronto - Now playing until January 2, 2011
$85/$75/$64/$27 Adults • $59 Children under 12 years of age • $235 Family 4-Pack - all prices include HST
Tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.ca, by phone 416.872.5555 or in person at the box office
For more information and a complete performance schedule visit www.rosspetty.com
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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