These are good days for live theatre in Savannah, and I wholeheartedly encourage readers to begin attending the fine performances around town. And you can start with the Savannah Stage Company’s current production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” at Service Brewing.Get Savannah arts and culture news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our morning, afternoon and Dine newsletters
I have seen any number of bands perform in Service’s spacious taproom, but Savannah Stage Company’s musical is in an even larger space with a more industrial atmosphere. Reminiscent of SSC’s staging for the stellar 2018 production of “Cabaret,” chairs are set up in several rows facing each other in a configuration that gives the cast incredible flexibility for entrances, exits, blocking and choreography. The minor costume changes happen on the fringes of the action, and the performers never really leave the space.
The floor area that serves as the stage is lit only by strings of white lights, creating a soft, eerie ambiance that seems fitting for the scenes inside the cursed beast’s castle and in the forest nearby. Director Jayme Tinti has assembled a typically strong cast that keeps the production moving quickly and seamlessly from scene to scene, propelled by the excellent accompaniment from the live trio led by music director Diane Houseman.
I was most impressed by the high-energy ensemble numbers like “Gaston” in the first act and “Human Again” in the second act. The book for the musical doesn’t exactly emphasize character development, but Kah’teah Bacon as Belle and Terrence Williams as the Beast find myriad ways to convey the changes in the protagonists’ relationship. Williams’ Beast is by turns menacing, pitiful and hopeful, while Bacon’s Belle manages to be radiant whether she is vengeful or afraid.
I attended the special “pay-what-it’s-worth” performance on Sunday evening of the opening weekend. In an attempt to make theatre more accessible, the company did not take advance reservations, did not charge admission and accepted voluntary donations after the show. I hope that the numbers worked out well enough for Savannah Stage Company to do it again.
Reservations are strongly recommended for the final weekend of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.” Tickets ($18) are available via the Savannah Stage Company website. Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. Nov. 21-23 and 3 p.m. Nov. 23.
Service Brewing is located at 574 Indian St., at the corner of Fahm Street. On-street parking is often available on nearby blocks, but the availability is unpredictable, so attendees should give themselves plenty of time to get there.
The performance is open to all ages, but the taproom is open only to those 21 and older.
Bill Dawers writes City Talk in Savannah Morning News and blogs at hissing lawns (www.hissinglawns.com). Email email@example.com.