Photo/Ed Krieger

(l to r) Caleb Green (Limiere) and Rosa Navarrete (Babette) in “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Broadway Musical“ new at CASA 0101.

Perhaps someday the Northeast San Fernando Valley will have its own community theater space, but until then, an alternative is to take a drive out of the valley to CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights.  A holiday production of “Beauty and the Beast” is on the main stage performed by a refreshing group of  actors and singers that truly reflect L.A.’s diversity and provides opportunity for a new generation of artists.   

It’s an ambitious venture that has involved many hands that include El Centro del Pueblo, a local nonprofit, city Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s office and TNH Productions. 

It’s heartwarming to watch an audience enjoy watching a production that doesn’t need to preach but just naturally showcases actors of every hue.  Kids watching this production see people that look like members of their own family in a comfortable and attractive mid-sized theater that also feels like family.  This theater has become an important artistic center for the Boyle Heights and Greater Los Angeles community.

With every seat being a great seat, audience members can learn how theater is made and a story is told, as the set and props on wheels quickly transforms the stage into a provincial town to a luxurious castle in France when an old beggar woman, who is actually an Enchantress, asks the Prince for shelter from the freezing cold. The Prince shuns the beggar for her repulsive appearance, at which time the Enchantress appears transforming the Prince into a Beast for his cold-hearted and selfish ways. The Enchantress casts a magic spell upon the Prince’s entire castle, including his good-natured servants, who are transformed into household objects.  Ashamed of his new appearance, the Beast conceals himself inside his castle with a magic mirror as his only window to the outside world.   Only if the Beast can learn to love a woman and earn her love in return before the final petal falls off the rose, the curse will be broken and he will return to his original self as a Prince. But, if not, he will remain a Beast forever, and all the members of his household will be doomed as well for all eternity. 

After you visit CASA 0101 and can appreciate the familial production of “Beauty and the Beast,” perhaps you will be inspired to find a way to build similar theater space to showcase the abundance of talent  in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. 

“Beauty and the Beast” at CASA 0101 is currently running until January 21, 2018 Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. & 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. at 2101 East First Street Boyle Heights

CASA 0101 is located at  2102 East First Street in Boyle Heights.