The Beauty and the Beast - Musical Budapest Operetta Theater

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Act I

On a cold winter night, an old beggar woman comes upon a glorious castle belonging to a young prince. She asks the master of the castle to allow her to stay the night, away from the cold, and in return she will give him a single rose, but the prince is vain and uncaring and turns her away solely for her appearance. As he does this, she warns him not to be fooled by appearances, as true beauty lies within, only to be rejected again. Seeing his horrible heart for what it truly is, she transforms into a beautiful enchantress and turns the prince into a hideous Beast and his servants into various household objects. She gives him the rose to use as an hour-glass. The only way he can break the spell is to learn to love another and earn her love in return by the time the last petal falls.

10 years later, a beautiful young woman named Belle makes her way into town one morning in order to get a book from the local book seller. On the way she expresses her wish to live in a world like her books, full of adventure, while the townspeople note her unparalleled beauty but find her love of books odd (“Belle”). Belle has also attracted the attentions of Gaston (the local hunter and town hero) who admires her only for her beauty and not her intelligence.

Belle, however, is not oblivious to her peers’ views of her. She voices her concerns about it to her father, Maurice, an eccentric inventor. He assures his daughter that she is anything but strange ("No Matter What"). The two then put the finishing touches on his invention and Maurice heads off to an invention fair donning a scarf knitted for him by Belle ("No Matter What (Reprise)"). In the woods, Maurice becomes lost when a pack of wolves attacks him; he finds his way to a mysterious castle on the edge of the Crossroads and enters. The servants of the castle include Lumière, a maître d' turned into a candelabra, Cogsworth, the head of household turned into a clock, Babette, a maid turned into a feather duster that still seems to retain her flirtatious tendencies, Mrs. Potts, the head of the kitchen turned into a tea pot, and Chip, the son of Mrs. Potts. They welcome him, but the horrid Beast arrives and orders Maurice to be locked away in the dungeon for trespassing.

Back in town, Gaston proposes to Belle, which she politely rejects ("Me"). Appalled by Gaston’s forwardness, Belle once again voices her need for a life outside this provincial one ("Belle (Reprise)"). Gaston's sidekick, LeFou, returns from the woods wearing the scarf Belle knitted for Maurice. Belle realizes her father is in danger and heads into the woods to look for him. She ends up at the castle where she finds her father locked away in a dungeon. She makes a deal with the Beast, Maurice goes free but she remains instead. They agree and Maurice is sent back to town without being allowed to say goodbye. Belle is given a guest room and ordered by the Beast to join him for dinner. She mourns her situation ("Home"), but Mrs. Potts and Madame de la Grande Bouche, an operatic wardrobe, attempt to cheer her up ("Home (Reprise)").

Back in town, at the local tavern, Gaston sulks at his loss of a bride. LeFou and the patrons attempt to cheer him up ("Gaston"), when Maurice rushes in claiming a Beast has Belle locked away, they laugh at him but Gaston formulates a plan ("Gaston (Reprise)"). Back at the castle, the Beast grows impatient as Belle has yet to join him for dinner. Cogsworth informs him she refuses to come, after a shouting match between Belle and the Beast (which ends in a victory for Belle) he tells her if she cannot eat with him then she will not eat at all. In his quarters, he sulks and notes his fate should the spell not break ("How Long Must This Go On?"). Eventually Belle does become hungry and ventures into the kitchen where the servants offer her dinner despite their master’s orders. They treat her to an amazing cabaret show ("Be Our Guest").

After dinner, Belle gets a tour of the castle courtesy of Cogsworth and Lumière, her curiosity leads her to enter the West Wing, a place the Beast told her was forbidden. Mesmerized by a mysterious rose floating in a bell jar, she reaches out to touch it but before she can, the Beast stops her and orders her to get out accidentally shoving her in the process. Fearing for her life, Belle flees from the castle. Realizing his deadly mistake, the Beast knows he will be a monster forever if he cannot learn to love her ("If I Can't Love Her").

Act II

In the woods, Belle is attacked by wolves and is only rescued when the Beast comes to her aid, but he is injured during the fight and collapses. Instead of taking the chance to run home Belle helps him back to the castle. She cleans his injuries and after a brief argument about whose fault this is, the Beast thanks her for her kindness and thus their friendship is born. Wanting to give her a thank-you gift, the Beast gives Belle his huge library, which excites her. She notes a change in the Beast’s personality as the servants note a change in Belle and the Beast’s relationship ("Something There"). They express their hope of being human once more ("Human Again") while Belle asks the Beast to accompany her to dinner that night.

Back in the village, Gaston meets with the asylum owner Monsieur D'Arque. They plan to lock Maurice away to blackmail Belle into marrying Gaston ("Maison des Lunes"). In the castle, the Beast and Belle attend a lovely dinner and personal ball, where they dance together in the ballroom ("Beauty and the Beast"). After, the Beast (who plans to tell Belle he loves her) asks her if she is happy here, she responds positively but notes that she misses her father. He offers her his Magic Mirror to view him. She sees that Maurice is sick and lost in the woods and fears for his life. Even though The Beast knows there is only a few hours left till the last petal falls from the rose. He allows Belle to leave in order to save her father, she departs after a tearful goodbye ("If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)").

Belle finds her father and brings him back to their house in the village. After she is able to nurse him back to health, she explains the transformation she seems to have gone through while she was with the Beast ("A Change in Me"). A mob arrives, led by Gaston to take Maurice to the asylum. Belle proves her father's sanity by showing the townspeople the Beast is real using the Magic Mirror, but doesn’t realize the error in her gesture. The townspeople immediately fear the Beast, but Belle insists he's gentle and kind. Gaston catches her tone and recognizes the Beast as his rival for Belle's affections and organizes the mob to kill the Beast ("The Mob Song").

At the castle, the servants are able to keep the lynch mob at bay but Gaston breaks through and finds the Beast in his tower. He engages in a fight with him, mercilessly beating and taunting him. The Beast has lost the will to live at Belle's departure. As Gaston moves in for the killing blow, Belle arrives. The Beast immediately turns on Gaston and is prepared to kill him, but spares his life after seeing the fear in his eyes. The Beast and Belle are reunited, but this reunion is cut short as Gaston plunges his dagger into the Beast’s back. This act of violence causes Gaston to lose his footing and he falls to his death.

On the balcony, Belle assures the Beast he will live but they both know she is helpless to save him. She begs him not to leave her because she has found home in his company ("Home (Reprise II)"), but despite this, he dies; Belle sobs on his body and says she loves him just before the last rose petal falls. A transformation takes place and the Beast is alive and human once more. Though Belle does not recognize him at first, she looks into his eyes and sees the Beast within and they kiss. The two sing of how their lives have changed because of love and they dance once more as the company, now changed back to their human form, gathers in the ballroom ("Transformation/Finale").

Program and cast

Cast

Cseh Dávid Péter The Beast

Veronika Fekete-Kovács Belle

Normand Szentmártoni Gaston

Tibor Oláh LeFou

Ádám Bálint Lumière, the candelabra

Tamás Földes Cogsworth, the clock

Ágota Siménfalvy Mrs Potts, the teapot

Ildikó Sz. Nagy Madame de la Grande Bouche

Mara Kékkovács Babette

Lajos Csuha Maurice

Zsanett Szente-Laboda Libuska

Alexandra Faragó Libuska

Felkai Flóra Libuska

 

Creators

Alan Menken Composer

Howard Ashman Lyricist

Tim Rice Lyricist

Linda Woolverton Book

Orbán János Dénes Fordította és a dalszövegeket készítette

László Makláry Music director, Conductor

Tamás Bolba Karmester

Mónika Szabó Conductor of choir

Gergő Aczél Assistant choreographer

Gabriella Godó Assistant choreographer

Attila Kárpát Assistant choreographer

István Róbert Kiss Assistant choreographer

András Tucker Assistant director

Bea Nagy Artistic assistant

Péter Somfai Light designer

István Rózsa Set designer

Erzsébet Túri Costume designer

Michac Gábor Árnyjáték-tervező

Kuthy Ágnes Árnyjáték-rendező

Nagy Péter István Akciórendező

Éva Duda Choreographer

György Böhm Director

Photo gallery

Budapest Operetta Theater

History

The history of the Operetta Theatre begins with the name of Károly Somossy who used to run an Orpheum in the building at 17 Nagymező street since 1884. In 1890 he bought the house and had it transformed into an entertainment house by the Felner and Helmer company, which opened in 1894. Its interior design was exalted by all accounts. Then the venture went bankrupt in 1899, Károly Albrech restaurant keeper took over the operation and from 1902 a Variety Show started to work there with the name of Fővárosi Orfeum, under the management of Imre Waldmann.

The Americal theatre entrepreneur, Ben Blumenthal, after having purchased the Vígszínházm also rented the Orpheum in 1922. The refurbished theatre opened its gates on 23 December 1922 first as Fővárosi Színház, a year later taking up the name of Fővárosi Operett Színház.

From 1929 to 1930 the Fővárosi Művész Színház (Arts Theatre) worked there with leadership of Gyula Kabos. From September 1930 the theatre took up again its old name and was lead by Dezső Sebestyén but it was forced to close several times because of the scanty attendance. From 1936 to 1938 it hosted the Arts Theatre of Artúr Bárdos.

After the siege of Budapest the theatre was opened in march 1945 with the popular operetta by Imre Kálmá, the Csárdáskirálynő. This soon became the biggest Hungarian and international success of the play. The theatre was nationalized in 1949, and Margit Gáspár appointed as director. The general renovation of the building had already been decided in 1960 but it was only realized in the second part of the sixties. In 1966 the company moved into the former building of the Petőfi Theatre, and the reconstruction started according to the plans of the Középüettervező Vállalat (Company of Public Constructions). The designers were: Halmi Iván, Pozsay Csaba és Vajda Ferenc. The festive opening was held on 17 April 1971, again with a staging of Csárdáskirálynő. This was the thousandth performance of Imre Kálmán’s operetta.

 Imre Halasi, who used to be the manager of the theatre from 1996 to 2000, changed the name of the theatre form 1. January 1998. Since then it is called Budapesti Operettszínház (Budapest Operetta Theatre). Another reconstruction of the building can be tied to the name of Halasi, the aim of which was the restoration of the original milieu. The designer, Mária Siklós, tried to free the building from the construction errors that got there during the several earlier reconstruction.

In March 2002 a studio theatre for 100 people was inaugurated, the so called Storage Room Theatre situated in the theatre’s wing in Mozsár street.

 

Architectural description

The unique character the theatre comes from the interesting features of the plot division. The main facade and the entrance of the Budapest Operetta Theatre opens from the Nagymező Street, however the functions of the theatre are built in to the inside courtyards framed by houses between the Andrássy, Nagymező and Mozsár streets. Therefore the mass of the auditorium and the flyloft is not perceptible from the street.

The two-storey  mass of the main facade was built at the turn of the century, according to the plans of the famous Viennese theatre designer duo, Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer. The entrance axe is surrounded at the entire height of the building by arched closed pediment. The entrance projection is articulated with two opening axes. The windows on the first floor are squared closed, while those on the second floor are arched. On the attics closing this part of the building on the complete with of the projection stands a lyre indicating the function of the building.

The side wings are articulated with three opening axes and pilasters, which surround the first and second floors. Between the ground and first floor a dividing edge and balusters run around.  The first floor openings are arched, while those on the second floor are squared, closed with decorative frame and keystone. The ground floor surface is horizontally pointed. The wall plane of the storeys is punch coloured; the pilasters, the sides, the ornaments and the window frames are white.

The auditorium is fan-shaped with balconies on the first and second floor. The stage is framed with accented proscenium wall and proscenium boxes.

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