Magic Photo                                Liz Oyama as Belle, Jimmi Cook as Gaston and John Han as Lefou star in the Edmonds Driftwood Players production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” opening Nov. 24.

Magic Photo Liz Oyama as Belle, Jimmi Cook as Gaston and John Han as Lefou star in the Edmonds Driftwood Players production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” opening Nov. 24.

In Driftwood’s ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ Belle has girl-power bend

Edmonds Driftwood Players presents Disney’s adaptation of the fair tale Nov. 24 through Dec. 17.

Edmonds Driftwood Players presents Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” Nov. 24 through Dec. 17. It’s a fun musical with a great cast at a perfect time of year for family entertainment.

But don’t go expecting a replay of either of the “Beauty and the Beast” movies. Hang on, now. That’s a good thing.

Director Andrew Coopman doesn’t change a note or any lines, and yet the musical has a real girl-power bent that Belle the damsel sometimes lacks in the movies.

“Belle — in the face of fear, sadness, boredom and gossip — looks for opportunities and adventures,” Coopman said. “Our Belle wears pants, participates in the fight scene and is an advocate for change instead of a victim of fate.”

Coopman, 28, has directed previously at Driftwood, but this production is close to his heart.

“I grew up loving this story, and I consider myself a passionate storyteller,” he said. “That’s my job.”

Kylie McKenzie Soder, the show’s costume designer, had a hand in the focus of the show, too.

“Our take is less an 18th-century period piece, and more a fantasy fairy tale,” Soder said.

In a rehearsal earlier this week, the talent and hard work of the cast and crew was evident.

Music director Mark Press and the orchestra do well with the professional-level score. Choreographer Molly Hall has the cast kicking up some Broadway-style moves. Rick Wright’s clever movable set makes the stage seem twice as large.

The show is produced by veteran Katie Soule with support from Rita Baxter, and the rest of the design staff includes Joe Hart, Rick Wright, Nancy Johnson, Arian Smit, Rex Goulding, Patrick J Lucey-Conklin, Bob Rice and more. Stage manager is Sarah Kessler assisted by Morgan Pullom.

Coopman said a record number of people turned out to audition for the show.

The multi-generational cast — all with great voices — includes Liz Oyama as Belle, Joshua Pulley as the Beast, Jimmi Cook as Gaston, John Han as Lefou, James Cheek as Maurice, Dakota Daley as Lumiere, Adam Othman as Cogsworth, Beaven Walters as Mrs. Potts, Scooter Walters as Chip, Karin Terry as Babette and Katie Gary as Madame de la Grande Bouche.

Ensemble members are Anna Vizzare, Laura McFarlane, Lara McLeod, Jim Walker, Miki Murray, T.J. Burzynski, Leah Lee, Elissa Cortright, Sydney Kaser, David Hayes, Callie Nissing, Troy Johnson, CJay Roundy, Dima Pogrebniak, Bella Horvath and Sofia Nuno.

This tale — as old as time — should please audiences of all ages, and director Coopman promises a thrilling finale.

Note to families with children and elders: the matinees are selling fast. Babes in arms are discouraged. An ASL interpreted performance is set for 8 p.m. Dec. 2.

Beauty and the Beast

Nov. 24 through Dec. 17, with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Additional matinees are set for Dec. 2 and 16. The Wade James Theatre is located at 950 Main St., Edmonds. Tickets are $28. Senior/junior/military, $25. Group rates available. Go to edmondsdriftwoodplayers.org or call 425-774-9600.

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