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By Thomas Connors | November 28, 2016 | Culture
The Museum of Contemporary Art gives Beauty and the Beast an edgy new twist.
Partners on stage and in life, burlesque artist Julie Atlas Muz and actor Mat Fraser bring their unique interpretation of Beauty and the Beast to the MCA.
Snow White had that wicked queen to contend with, and Cinderella couldn’t catch a break from those nasty stepsisters. But no fair maiden quite faced the quandary that beset the beauty who met the beast. And no telling of that tale—even Cocteau’s surrealist cinematic treatment—comes close to the healthily lusty rendition conceived by Detroit-born burlesque artist Julie Atlas Muz and her British husband, actor Mat Fraser, who was born with shortened arms.
“Beauty and the Beast is a story of love, understanding and triumph,” notes Muz. “What we do in our version is weave our own love story into the narrative.” Performers for whom sexuality and disability are nothing to get worked up about, Muz and Fraser are equally dismissive of any attempt to define their work as either art or entertainment. “We just let the story of our love and the fairy-tale couple’s love intertwine, honestly, openly,” says Fraser. “And the rest—disability, feminism, social commentary—comes out at a deep level, and hopefully embeds itself into the souls of all who come to see it.” December 1–19 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 200 E. Chicago Ave., 312-280-2660
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRONWEN SHARP