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Jade Jones and Evan Ruggiero to Star in Disney's Beauty and the Beast

The Olney Theatre Center production promises to reevaluate the meaning of beauty.

Evan Ruggiero will play the Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, at Olney Theatre Center.
(© Monica Simoes)

Casting has been announced for Olney Theatre Center's holiday production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which is set to begin performances November 5 and play through January 2, 2022.

Jade Jones, who in 2020 received two Helen Hayes Award nominations for her performances in School Girls, or the African Mean Girls Play (Round House Theatre) and Into the Woods (Ford's Theatre) will star as Belle. Opposite Jones as the Beast will be Evan Ruggiero, who was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his star turn in the off-off-Broadway musical Bastard Jones. An amputee and cancer survivor, Ruggiero has regularly wowed audiences with his impressive tap routines.

Marcia Milgrom Dodge, who helmed the 2009 Broadway revival of Ragtime, will directed the production. She explains, "Our production celebrates community, authenticity, acceptance, and kindness; and with the help of a few magic spells, provides a thoroughly inclusive, 2021 ‘Happily Ever After.'"

Based on the 1991 animated film, Disney's Beauty and the Beast tells the story of Belle, a smart girl stuck in a small town full of small-minded people. When she finds herself prisoner in an enchanted castle ruled over by a beast, the two embark on an unlikely romance. The hugely popular stage musical was nominated for nine Tony Awards and ran on Broadway for over 13 years, beginning the era of Disney musical on Broadway that continues to this day.

Olney Theatre's Beauty and the Beast will feature Michael Burrell as Gaston, Bobby Smith as Lumiere, Dylan Arredondo as Cogsworth, John Sygar as Lefou, and Iyona Blake as Mrs. Potts. Additionally, the cast will include Miranda Pepin as Chip, Jessica Lauren Ball as Madame de la Grande Bouche, Sasha Olinick as Maurice, and Hailey Ibberson as Babette. The ensemble includes: Conor James Reilly, Rick Westerkamp, Ariel Messeca, Michael Wood, Selena Clyne-Galindo, Erica Hansen, Quynh-My Luu, Tyler White, and Megan Tatum; with Shiloh Orr and Graciela Rey as swings.

Josh Walden choreographs and Walter "Bobby" McCoy serves as music director. The production showcases fight choreography by Robb Hunter, scenic design by Narelle Sissons, costume design by Ivania Stack, wig design by Ali Pohanka, lighting design by Colin K. Bills, and sound design by Matt Rowe.

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