• Pamela Froman

Beauty and the Beast 2018

It's a tale as old as time – and the musical adaption of Beauty and the Beast is done stunningly at Casa 0101 Theatre in Boyle Heights.

This intimate 100-seat theatre is the perfect backdrop for a quality performance that features amazing costumes, gorgeous song and dance, and savvy production. This performance features a diverse and multicultural cast that is a treat for the eyes.

Andrea Somera is perfect as Belle, a heroine who would rather read a book than be wooed by the handsome on the outside and ugly on the inside Gaston – played hilariously by Marco Infante. His preening and posturing really brought the character to life.

Gaston is joined by his beaten up sidekick LeFou – who is played by Maxwell Peters (an actor who also happens to be a middle school drama teacher) and the pair are an evil twosome.

Somera positively lights up the stage with her gorgeous voice and amazing performance. Belle is a great role model for young girls, with her compassion, intelligence and love of learning. Omar Mata wins Belle's heart – and our hearts – as the Beast, the monster who must learn to love and be loved in return. He played the role with sweetness and originality, along with his amazing voice. Will these two find love? As the audience, we are drawn into the story and we root for romance!

The choreography of the production was awesome, especially with the song “Gaston” and of course the quintessential “Be Our Guest.” In the former, beer steins became a visual tap dance as the actors pranced across the stage. In the latter the performers created an an amazing array of fun as they made dinner a place we all want to dance to. Kudos to choreographer Tania Possick!

The production backdrop was creative and innovative. Scenes such as the woods, the outside of the castle and the scene of the Prince sneering at the rose offered to him by the enchantress were all done by projection on a screen. It was a great way to help the audience immerse themselves into the play. As well the costumes were cleverly done, the work of Jermaine Alvarado.

The chemistry among the cast was perfect. The actors included Megan Frances as Madame de la Grande Bouche, our wardrobe who is a former opera star – she rocked the role. Jacquelin Schofield was Mrs. Potts – we love her rendition of “Beauty and the Beast”, along with sweet little Chip who was played by Sean Vargas. Daniel Sugimoto was Lumiere, and he was so funny especially in his penchant for romance. Babette, played by Daniela Santi sashayed across the stage with lots of laughs. Of course Jeremy Saje as Cogsworth truly brought the watch's uptight personality to life! And Henry Alex Kelly was impeccable as Maurice – he's definitely not odd, he's a genius!

This show is perfect for kids and families. Tickets are $40 per person for General Admission, $30 for students and seniors, and $25 for Boyle Heights residents and children 10 and under. Beauty and the Beast runs through June 10, 2018.

Dinner and theatre packages are available at Casa Fina Restaurant and Cantina, down the street from the theatre, located at 1842 E. First St., in Boyle Heights. Premium dinners are an additional $25 to your ticket price, regular dinners are an additional $15, and deserts are $5 additional.

Concurrently with the run of the musical there will be an art exhibit located in the Jean Deleage Art Gallery, located in the lobby of Casa 1010 Theatre. The exhibit is entitled “STUDENT POWER: Walking Out For Justice” and can be viewed prior and after performances. Casa 0101 brings elementary school students to the theatre for free every week. You can contribute to this effort by donating to their #CASA350 fundraising campaign. Keep their doors open and support kids and musical theatre!

Casa 0101 is located at 2102 E. First St., in Boyle Heights. For tickets, call the Casa 0101 Box Office at (323) 263-7684 or log onto

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