Be their guest: Beauty and the Beast arrives at Beef and Boards

An evening at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is always a fun outing with my daughters – even more so when the show offers a spectacular cast, a tale as old as time told in purely magical Disney fashion, AND – a bonus: a few character lessons that I want my kids to take to heart.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has officially arrived at Beef and Boards.

Beauty and the beast _ Indy's Child MagazineAs we got to the theatre, my youngest daughter Daisy was all smiles. She was cool with the idea of seeing this show, but even more fired up about the promise of a stuffed animal from the gift shop at intermission if she was a perfect angel. Look at that angelic smile…

RELATED: Disney’s magical fairy tale musical opens at Beef and Boards on May 19

Here are four lessons that this beautiful show helped us remember:


I love that instead of dwelling upon her surface-level beauty, Disney made Belle a bookworm with a heart of gold and courage for miles. In her “provincial town,” being the smart girl with a wider world view who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself does not make her popular. Still, Belle she doesn’t apologize for her brainy uniqueness. It’s what makes her a true beauty.

Carmel native Julia Bonnet did a beautiful job bringing this three-dimensional character to life while nailing her vocal performance of Belle’s sweet songs. “She is REALLY good!” my daughter Clara told me with wide eyes during the performance. After the show, we were lucky enough to have a chance to meet Julia, who sweetly accepted compliments from this group of young fans. Clara had brought along her friend Gabby, who had never been to Beef and Boards. Having a chance to meet cast members afterwards was icing on the cake for a first-time visitor. “You were AMAZING,” Clara told “Belle” before they posed with her for pictures. For a kid who aspires to be a Broadway actress, meeting a leading lady is a dream come true – especially when they’re this sweet and classy. {Notice that Daisy got her wish – a stuffed animal from the gift shop to add to her insanely large collection.}

Beauty and the beast _ Indy's Child MagazineKILL ‘EM WITH KINDNESS

Let’s just put it right out on the table: The premise of this fairy tale requires some serious suspension of disbelief. How does a beauty like Belle end up loving a growling Beast {played by perfect-for-this-part Preston Yates} who has imprisoned her? I was more than a little shocked by my 6-year-old daughter Daisy’s reaction to a scene where the Beast loses his temper and lashes out at Belle, then immediately feels embarrassed and remorseful. “I feel sorry for the Beast,” she told me. How amazing is it that a kid that young can feel compassion for someone whose behavior makes him an obvious outcast?

I loved the lesson about the power of kindness and compassion that was outlined so clearly as Belle’s sweetness helped the Beast rediscover his humanity. Nicely done.


I can’t think of a better character than Gaston to teach my daughters what kind of guy to RUN SCREAMING AWAY FROM. Jonathan McHatton did a great job bringing Gaston’s gigantic biceps and ego to the stage. He got a ton of well-deserved laughs as the selfish, aggressive, arrogant, rude, manipulative and shallow suitor to the disgusted Belle. “He does have really strong muscles, though – wow,” I heard my oldest daughter comment. Luckily, his over-the-top character reinforced the importance of this cardinal dating rule: No bulging biceps will ever overcome massive character flaws like extreme, selfish arrogance!

Beauty and the beast _ Indy's Child Magazine
Photo credit: Beef and Boards.

Sam McKanney was hysterical as his clueless and often mistreated sidekick LeFou. His straining, painfully physical attempt to “think” stopped the show and made for one of my favorite moments. Well done, my friend!


One of the most delightful parts about seeing this show on stage was watching how the enchanted castle comes to life. I loved the way the costumes – it was beautiful work as always by costume designer and treasured friend Jill Kelly! And the brilliant acting helped turn objects like clocks, candlesticks and teapots into endearing characters. John Vessels captured my heart as Cogsworth, the tightly wound clock who desperately needs to relax and go with the flow. I loved watching his inner struggles, and the moments when he would allow just a BIT of emotion interrupt the relentless ticking of his nervous inner workings. Beautiful, Johnny V!

Beauty and the Beast _ Indy's Child Magazine
Photo credit: Beef and Boards.

Lumiere the candlestick {Alan M-L Wagner} and Babette the feather duster {Erin Becker} teased and flirted their way through each scene, Madame de la Grande Bouche {Kelly Teal Goyette} was a comic powerhouse as the operatic wardrobe, Mrs. Potts {Suzanne Stark} was spot on with the show’s title song, and Chip {Holland Barnes} was beyond adorable as her little teacup. The iconic production number “Be Our Guest” brought all of these enchanting characters {along with some very talented flatware!} together with Belle for a truly enchanting showstopper.

I didn’t really know how much I had been craving a fun, magical escape until I was there. It was a privilege to be this cast’s guest for an evening.

Thanks Beef and Boards, for a memorable night and the priceless souvenirs we brought home: Lessons on beauty, kindness, humility and magic.

MORE INFO: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast runs through July 10, 2016 at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre. Beef and Boards is located at 9301 Michigan Road in Indianapolis. Tickets range from $41-$66 and include a family-friendly dinner buffet. Children 3-15 receive a $10 discount. For more information visit their website or call {317} 872-9664.

Trisha Lawless
Trisha Lawless
Trisha Lawless is an Indianapolis-based corporate communications advisor and freelance writer who began her career as a television news journalist. She enjoys performing in local theatre productions as her schedule permits, and has appeared in roles with Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis Civic Theatre, and BobDirex. Trisha and her husband Ben are proud residents of Indy’s Historic Irvington neighborhood where they live with their children (middle school through college age) and Golden Retriever.

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