“Beauty and the Beast” makes its way to Dyker Heights
It’s a tale as old as time and it’s coming to Dyker Heights.
Jeff Samaha Theater Productions in association with Ridge Chorale is bringing a production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” to the neighborhood.
The company, responsible for high quality productions such as “Mary Poppins,” “Les Miserables” and “Hairspray,” is excited for local audiences to witness the family-friendly show.
“We chose ‘Beauty in the Beast’ because we enjoy doing Disney productions and this is the most challenging of those productions because of the costuming, the set and the music, which is especially enchanting,” said Samaha who serves as the show’s executive producer. “I’m a music director so I enjoy doing it.”
Aside from the music, which Samaha considers “absolutely beautiful,” the arrangements are beautifully executed and designed in such a way that the story can be told while the music is played as an underscore.
“The songs are beautiful but the story is continuously told with music playing underneath almost continually until there’s a scene when there’s music,” he said.
Costumes are also expected to be a highlight for the Broadway-quality show,which will be performed at a new venue, the St. George Community Center Theatre, 6209 11th Avenue.
“The costumes — which we have rented from a Broadway house — are extremely lavish and beautiful structured,” he said. “The theater we are performing in is a brand new theater for us. It’s a really comfortable place for audiences. It’s very large. The folding chairs are padded, high back chairs. And there are 900 of them. It looks great. Everything is new. There’s a control booth in back of the theater that houses the audio and lighting equipment. The lighting is extravagant, and there are speakers all around the room and in back. Everyone is near a speaker. It’s just a really comfortable place to be in.”
The performances are also expected to be top-notch.
“They’re all extremely talented actors and singers,” he said. “They’re basically Broadway quality performers.”
The orchestra is also expected to wow the crowd. “We have a 20-piece orchestra who are musicians from the community theater circuit who play for six theater companies in the area. From the first rehearsal, it was like they’ve been playing it their whole lives. And it’s a very hard score.”
Elaborate sets are also expected to take shape, thanks to help from relatives of the cast and crew.
A major reason why Samaha and company wanted to bring this production to the neighborhood was to provide high-quality shows locally that audiences don’t have to break the bank to see.
“People can’t afford to go to Broadway,” he said. “It’s much as $1,000 for a ticket for shows like ‘Hamilton.’ We wanted to bring semi-Broadway quality to the Bay Ridge community.”
One of the show’s highlights is expected to be one of its most popular numbers.
“I think that the ‘Be Our Guest’ number is the highlight of our first act and the mob song in act two,” Samaha said. “The ballads are beautiful.”
Despite the hard work ahead, everyone is excited to break a leg.
“Producer Karen Tadross has been amazing, and the production team has been working so hard to get the show up and running,” he said.
“Beauty and the Beast” will premiere on Friday, February 2 at 8 p.m. at St. George Community Center Theatre, 6209 11th Avenue. Additional shows will take place on Friday, February 9 at 8 p.m., Saturday, February 3 and 10 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday, February 4 and Sunday, February 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and children. There are also special group rates. For more information, visit www.ridgechorale.com.
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