Review: HART in the Park’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ lives up to its source material

Members of the Huntington community were invited by the Huntington Area Regional Theatre to “Be Our Guests” for their summer showing of “Beauty and the Beast.”

HART in the Park, in collaboration with the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District, is in its third year of summer shows, after the twenty-year-long legacy of Huntington Outdoor Theatre
was retired.

As someone who has been attending outdoor theatre since my childhood — it was always a family summer outing that we all looked forward to — I was sad to hear that HOT was closing its gates, but with the announcement of HART in the Park, it was comforting to know that the history of outdoor theater at the Ritter Park amphitheater would live on.

It is a special thing to see a cast seem to fully take on their roles, to see these classic characters come to life before our very eyes. Local theater newcomer Megan Creasy, who played the role of Belle, was practically a spitting image of the Disney cartoon classic, and her voice was comparable to the original classic. Levi Kelley, a veteran of the stage, brought a complexity to the Beast character that truly made the
audience sympathize.

While I could go on and on about the cast of the show, what was really special to me was the way this show has touched the community over the past several weeks. When I walked up to the theater, local vendors filled the scene. The parks department was present, and the show even highlighted local artists in its preshow.

Programs like these are what our area needs.

Programs like these bring a whole community together.

Franklin Norton can be contacted at [email protected]