Due to the current pandemic, live theater around the country has come to a screeching halt. However, Barter Theatre has pushed forward and found a way to continue bringing the community the beloved performances by working with the Moonlite Drive-In to produce safe productions. Barter recently finished its run of the Disney classic “Beauty and the Beast” at the Moonlite. Though unconventional, the experience proved to be a perfect break from the stress of the pandemic.
Sticking with CDC mandated regulations, Barter made the experience completely hands free. With a printed ticket held up to your car window and ushers directing cars to their designated spots, this method was completely free of one-on-one contact. Barter also consults medical experts to ensure that all of their employees are protected from the virus, so everyone can enjoy the production without worrying about the safety of the cast and crew.
Before the production began, Katy Brown, artistic director, came out to introduce the show and go over a few more regulations. The cast then came on stage and performed a song from their upcoming musical “Mary Poppins” before beginning “Beauty and the Beast.”
It is impossible to talk about this show without bringing up the heart of the entire story, Belle herself. Without a strong lead, this production could have easily fallen apart, but actress Zoë Velling brought so much heart and passion to the role that no one left the drive-in disappointed.
Something else that was impressive was the costuming of the show. Every actor was wearing a base outfit. In between scenes they would add or remove different pieces depending on what character they were playing. This could have been disorganized, but the outfits looked professional and it was very interesting to see some of the action that would usually be happening backstage.
The chemistry between the cast was what truly made the night magical. It was obvious that they enjoyed what they were doing, so much so that they continued singing even after the show ended. While the exit music played and their mics were turned off, they sung the title song of the show. Their happiness was contagious to everyone present.
All in all, the show was well performed even with the social distancing regulations. It featured a talented cast, show stopping group numbers, and flawless technical elements. Their creativity and resourcefulness shone through in every element of the night, and in a time where everyone needed an escape, they made sure to deliver.