Scheduling conflicts prevented me from attending the first two shows of the Fox Theatre’s 2013-14 season, so I was determined not to miss the third. The show was “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.”
I was informed that Friday would be a special “Kids’ Night” with special activities before the show and an early start time of 7:30 p.m. (Hooray for early start time, 8 p.m. is too late to be starting a show for children and old people like me). However, I was warned this meant that we would need to get downtown earlier than usual in order to get a decent parking space.
No problem, we’ll just go down early and have dinner before the show. We had been wanting to try out the City Diner next door to the theater for some time. We arrived 2 hours before showtime only to find the diner filled with little girls in princess garb along with their families. Why did I not see this coming?
Across the street was a newly opened Dooley’s, which The Wife assured me offered good pub food. We crossed the street — same situation.
“Best Steak House?”
“Best Steak House.”
Crossing another street brings one to Best Steak House, the best steak house in St. Louis although I’ve never had the steak there (I always get the Gyro Plate). We used to go to Best frequently back in the days when we regularly did dinner-and-a-show, but had not been there in years. To no one’s surprise, it hadn’t changed a bit.
The line was also out the door at BST, but that didn’t matter because Best knows how to move meat and customers. BST is a cafeteria-style restaurant where you snake through the line and someone behind the counter yells NEXT! and you yell your order and get your tray and your food and find a seat at a table or booth in a place that doesn’t look like it has changed since it opened in 1964.
After about a half-hour in line we got our gyro plates (salad, gyro, fries/baked potato and drink), found a booth and enjoyed our meal. We would probably still be sitting in the waiting area at City Diner or Dooley’s in the time it took us to order and eat. We wondered why we ever stopped coming to Best Steak House.
After dinner we walked across the street to the Fox which by now was jam-packed with little girls in princess outfits and their families. There were various activity stations throughout the lobby but we couldn’t get close enough to see what any of them were about, so we found our seats.
The show started promptly at 7:30 p.m. (Hooray for shows starting promptly at the scheduled time). I trust I don’t have to go over the story of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” for you. Based on the 1991 animated film, the stage production features wild, colorful costumes; enthusiastic, high-energy dance numbers; clever set designs and a talented cast belting out the movie’s classic songs as well as new material written for the stage.
The cast members were all equally enchanting, including Hilary Maiberger as Belle, Darick Pead as Beast, Kristin Stewart as Mrs. Potts, HassanNazari-Robati as Lumiere and James May as Cogsworth.
Unlike most shows, my heart will always belong to the villain of the piece — the self-centered he-man Gaston (Tim Rogan). Rogan and his pratfall-gifted sidekick Lefou (Jordan Aragon) steal the show for me. Let everyone else have “Be Our Guest” and “Beauty and the Beast,” I’ll take the show-stopping craziness of “Gaston.”
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast runs through Sunday. http://fabulousfox.com/
Best Steak House is open daily. http://beststeakstl.com/