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Beastly romance



The blockbuster musical Beauty and the Beast is returning to the Oklahoma City stage for a Valentine’s Day treat. Based on the animated Disney movie of the same name, the musical debuted in 1994 on Broadway. Twenty years later, the same production crew, including original director Rob Roth, has revamped the musical for a fresh take on a much-loved classic.

Beauty and the Beast is the story of Belle, a bookish and headstrong young woman in a small town, and the Beast, a monster who is actually a handsome young prince in the grips of a curse. The curse can only be lifted if Beast can learn to love and learn to be loved in return. The central theme of the story is the ability to see beyond appearances to recognize the beauty within.

Tim Rogan is a Washington, D.C. actor who plays Gaston in the touring production. When asked about the legacy of a character immortalized on film by Richard White and on stage by the likes of Burke Moses in the original New York Broadway cast and Hugh Jackman in Australia, he admitted that he had some serious shoes to fill.

“Big? Try huge, massive, massive shoes,” Rogan said during a recent Oklahoma Gazette phone interview.

Rogan graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and worked as an actor in regional theater before snagging the role of a lifetime as Gaston on this tour.

“There’s this intimidation … you realize that this team, these guys gave people like Burke Moses and Hugh Jackman one of their first jobs, too. It’s awesome,” he said.

“It’s one of those things, well, you’ve been working all your life to do this, now [you get to] go do it,” Rogan said.

Traveling shows also bring an added dimension of the unknown to the already-exciting world of live theater.

“The theaters are always changing, so that’s kind of fun. The differences in the space, of even a few feet, can dramatically change things … it’s a fun thing to keep you on your toes.”

At its heart, Beauty and the Beast is a love story with universal appeal. The story of Belle and her Beast is one that speaks to audiences of all ages and cultures. Rogan said the fact that the feature film was nominated for an Oscar before there was an animated films category comes up all the time in conversations about the show’s appeal.

“It’s such a magical, romantic show,” Rogan said. “We (the cast) were saying about opening on Valentine’s Day in Oklahoma City, ‘How perfect; what a great date for anyone.’”

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