| Beauty and the Beast |
Music: Alan Menken
Book: Linda Woolverton
Beauty and the Beast is a production, and this is a general overview of that production. The show closed on July 29, 2007 to make room for "The Little Mermaid".
On a cold winter night during Christmas, an old beggar woman comes upon a glorious castle belonging to a young prince. She asks the master of the castle to allow her to spend the night and in return she will give him a single rose in exchange for shelter from the cold. But the prince is vain and uncaring and turns her away solely for her appearance. As he does this, she warns him not to be fooled by appearances, as true beauty lies within, only to be rejected again. Seeing his horrible heart for what it truly is, she transforms into a beautiful enchantress and turns the prince into a hideous Beast and his servants into different objects. She gives him the rose to use as an hour-glass. The one way he can break the spell is to learn to love another and earn her love in return by the time the last petal falls. If he fails the curse will last forever.
Years later, a beautiful young woman named Belle makes her way into town one morning in order to get a book from the local book seller. On the way she expresses her wish to live in a world like her books, full of adventure, while the townspeople note her unparalleled beauty but find her love of books odd (“Belle”). Belle has also attracted the attentions of Gaston (the local hunter and town hero) who admires her only for her beauty and not her brains.
Belle, however, is not oblivious to her peers’ views of her. She voices her concerns about it to her father, Maurice, an eccentric inventor, assures his daughter that she is anything but strange and he will always love her (“No Matter What”). The two then put the finishing touches on his invention and Maurice heads off to an invention fair donning a scarf knitted for him by Belle (“No Matter What (Reprise)”).
In the woods, Maurice becomes lost when a pack of wolves attacks him; he finds his way to a mysterious castle on the edge of the Crossroads and enters. The servants (Lumière, a maître d' turned into a candelabra, Cogsworth, the head of household turned into a clock, Babette, a maid turned into a feather duster that still seems to retain her flirtatious tendencies, Mrs. Potts, the head of the kitchen turned into a tea pot) and Chip, the son of Mrs. Potts. They welcome him but the castle’s master, a horrid Beast, arrives and orders Maurice to be locked away for trespassing.
Back in town Gaston proposes to Belle, which she politely rejects (“Me”). Appalled by Gaston’s forwardness, Belle once again voices her need for a life outside this provincial one (“Belle (Reprise)”). Gaston’s sidekick, LeFou, returns from the woods in a familiar scarf. Belle realizes her father is in danger and heads into the woods to look for him. She ends up at the castle where she finds her father locked away in a dungeon. She makes a deal with the Beast, Maurice goes free but she remains instead. They agree and Maurice is sent back to town without being allowed to say goodbye. Belle is given a guest room and ordered by the Beast to join him for dinner. She mourns her situation (“Home”), but Mrs. Potts and Madame de la Grande Bouche, an operatic wardrobe, attempt to cheer her up (“Home (Reprise)”).
Back in town, Gaston sulks at his loss of a bride. Lefou and the patrons attempt to cheer him up (“Gaston”), when Maurice rushes in claiming a Beast has Belle locked away, they laugh at him but Gaston formulates a plan (“Gaston (Reprise)”). Back at the castle, the Beast grows impatient as Belle has yet to join him for dinner. Cogsworth informs him she refuses to come, after a shouting match between Belle and the Beast (which ends in a victory for Belle) he tells her if she cannot eat with him then she will not eat at all. In his quarters, he sulks and notes his fate should the spell not break (“How Long Must This Go On?”). Eventually Belle does become hungry and ventures into the kitchen where the servants offer her dinner despite their master’s orders. They treat her to an amazing cabaret show (“Be Our Guest”).
After dinner, Belle gets a tour of the castle courtesy of Cogsworth and Lumiere, her curiosity leads her to enter the West Wing, a place the Beast told her was forbidden. Mesmerized by a mysterious rose floating in a bell jar, she reaches out to touch it but before she can, the Beast stops her and orders her to get out and rips her sleeve in the process. Appalled that he has touched her she flees the castle fearing for her life. Realizing his deadly mistake the Beast knows he will be a monster forever if he cannot learn to love her (“If I Can’t Love Her”).
In the woods, Belle is attacked by wolves and is only rescued when the Beast comes to her aid, but he is injured during the fight, and collapses and Belle helps him back to the castle instead of taking the chance to run home. She cleans his injuries and after a brief argument about whose fault this is, the Beast thanks her for her kindness and thus their friendship is born. Wanting to give her a thank-you gift, the Beast gives Belle his huge library, which excites her. She notes a change in the Beast’s personality as the servants note a change in Belle and the Beast’s relationship (“Something There”). They express their hope of being human once more (“Human Again”) while Belle asks the Beast to accompany her to dinner that night.
Back in the village, Gaston meets with the asylum owner Monsieur D’Arque. They plan to lock Maurice away to blackmail Belle into marrying Gaston (“Maison des Lunes”). In the castle, the Beast and Belle attend a lovely dinner and personal ball, where they dance together in the ballroom (“Beauty and the Beast”). After, the Beast (who plans to tell Belle he loves her) asks her if she is happy here, she responds positively but notes that she misses her father. He offers her his Magic Mirror to view him: he is sick and lost in the woods. The Beast allows Belle to leave in order to save him; she departs after a tearful goodbye (“If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)”).
Belle finds her father and brings him back to their house in the village. After she is able to nurse him back to health she explains the transformation she seems to have gone through while with the Beast (“A Change In Me”). A mob arrives, led by Gaston to take Maurice to the asylum. Belle proves her father’s sanity by showing the townspeople the Beast is real using the Magic Mirror but doesn’t realize the error in her gesture. The townspeople immediately fear the Beast, but Belle insists he’s gentle and kind. Gaston catches her tone and recognizes the Beast as his rival for Belle’s affections and organizes the mob to kill the Beast (“The Mob Song”).
At the castle, the objects are able to keep the lynch mob at bay but Gaston breaks through and finds the Beast in his tower. He engages in a fight with him, mercilessly beating him and taunting him. The Beast has lost the will to live at Belle’s departure and Gaston moves in for the killing blow when Belle arrives, the Beast immediately turns on Gaston but spares his life. The Beast and Belle are reunited just as Gaston plunges his dagger into the Beast’s back but loses his footing and falls to his death.
On the balcony Belle assures the Beast he will live but they both know she is helpless to save him. She begs him not to leave her because she has found home in his company (“Home - Reprise”), but despite this, he dies; Belle sobs on his body and says she loves him just before the last petal falls. A transformation takes place and the Beast is alive and human once more. Though Belle does not recognize him at first, she looks into his eyes and sees the Beast within and they kiss. The two sing of how their lives have changed because of love and they dance once more as the company, now changed back to their human form, gathers in the ballroom (“Transformation/Finale").
This describes any professional productions of the show that have taken place, be they Broadway, West End, Off-Broadway, Touring, etc.
Original Broadway production
The musical opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on April 18, 1994 and ran there until September 5, 1999, transferring to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 11, 1999, with an official opening date of November 16, 1999. The musical closed on July 29, 2007 after 46 previews and 5,464 performances, becoming Broadway's sixth-longest running production in history. The production holds the record of being the longest running production at both the Palace Theatre, where it opened, and the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, where it closed its Broadway run.
Directed by Robert Jess Roth with choreography by Matt West and assisted by Dan Mojica, the original Broadway cast included Susan Egan as Belle, Terrence Mann as the Beast, Burke Moses as Gaston, Gary Beach as Lumiere and Beth Fowler as Mrs Potts. Orchestrations were by Danny Troob (after his score of the film), scenic designer was Stan Meyer, costume designer Ann Hould-Ward, lighting designer Natasha Katz, sound was by T. Richard Fitzgerald, hair designer David H. Lawrence, and prosthetics were by John Dods. Illusions were by Jim Steinmeyer and John Gaughan, and pyrotechnic design was by Tyler Wymer.
The Broadway production closed to make way for Disney's next musical venture, The Little Mermaid. With Disney set to release its Broadway version of The Little Mermaid on November 3, 2007 at the time, it was believed that having two Disney film of the same style I.E. Princesses on Broadway at the same time would divide audiences and cause competition between the two shows. At this point, Disney had three shows running at the same time: Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Tarzan. It was reported that Disney Theatrical planned to revive the show on Broadway for the 2008 holiday season, but Disney did not pursue this.
Original London productionEdit
The West End production opened at London's Dominion Theatre on April 29, 1997 and closed on December 11, 1999. Featured were Julie Alanah Brighton as Belle, Alasdair Harvey as the Beast, Burke Moses reprising his role as Gaston, Derek Griffiths as Lumiere, Mary Millar as Mrs Potts, Norman Rossington as Maurice, Barry James as Cogsworth, Di Botcher as Madame De La Grande Bouche, Richard Gauntlett as Lefou and Rebecca Thornhill as Babette. Notable replacements included Michelle Gayle and Annalene Beechey as Belle and John Barrowman and Earl Carpenter as the Beast, Alex Bourne as Gaston and Terry Doyle as Maurice.  The show won the Olivier Award as Best New Musical for 1998.
The show had three US national tours. The first opened on November 15, 1995 and closed in 1999. It featured Kim Huber as Belle and Fred Inkley as the Beast. The second national tour opened in 1999 with Susan Owen as Belle and Grant Norman as The Beast. This production closed in 2003. The third national tour opened in 2001 and closed in 2003. This production starred Jennifer Shraeder as Belle and Roger Befeler as the Beast. Notable replacements on the tours have included Sarah Litzsinger, Erin Dilly and Danyelle Bossardet as Belle. The three touring companies visited 137 venues in 90 North American cities. About 5.5 million people in the United States and Canada saw these tours. A fourth national tour of Beauty and the Beast began February 2010, opening in Providence, Rhode Island starring Liz Shivener as Belle and Justin Glaser as The Beast.
The UK National tour (prior to the closure of the West End Production in 1999) began on November 2, 2001 at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool with stops in Bristol, Birmingham, Dublin, Southampton, Manchester and ended on April 12, 2003 at the Playhouse Theatre in Edinburgh. The tour starred Annalene Beechey (reprising her role from the London Production) as Belle, Alistair Robins as the Beast, Ben Harlow as Gaston, Julia Goss as Mrs Potts, Stephen Matthews as Lumiere Barry James (reprising his role from the London Production) as Cogsworth, Billy Boyle (reprising his role from the London Production) as Maurice, Karen Davies as Madame De La Grande Bouche, Kate Graham (reprising her role from the London Production) as Babette, Anthony Clegg as Lefou and Oliver Taylor and Sion Eifion sharing the role of Chip. Notable replacements included Dianne Pilkington as Belle, Alex Bourne as the Beast, Earl Carpenter as Gaston, Marilyn Cutts as Mrs Potts, Richard Tate as Maurice and Drew Varley as Lefou.
In October 2005, UK Productions produced a UK Tour of the show which ended in January 2010. The original cast included Katie Rowley Jones as Belle, Nic Greenshields as The Beast and Michael Quinn as Gaston. Notable replacements have included Jo Gibb and Ashley Oliver as Belle, Matthew Cammelle and Shaun Dalton as the Beast and Ben Harlow (who reprised his role from the Original Disney UK Tour as Gaston). The tour also visited other countries such as Malaysia and Greece.
- Los Angeles
A Los Angeles production opened at the Shubert Theatre on April 12, 1995 and closed on September 29, 1996. Most of the original Broadway cast, including Susan Egan, Terrence Mann, Gary Beach, Beth Fowler, Burke Moses and Tom Bosley reprised their roles. Notable replacements included James Barbour as the Beast. The sets in this production were widely considered to be the largest out of all the musical's productions in the world. After the show closed in Los Angeles, all of the sets were transferred for the production in Mexico City in 1997.
The Toronto production opened at the Princess of Wales Theatre on August 8, 1995 and closed in 1998. The production starred Kerry Butler as Belle and Chuck Wagner as the Beast, and Terry Doyle as Maurice. Notable replacements included Melissa Thomson as Belle and Steve Blanchard as the Beast. The lesser known Halifax production at the Neptune Theatre was the longest running production in the theatre's history.
In 1995, the musical began its original Australian run in Melbourne at The Princess Theatre, before moving on to Sydney. The original Australian cast included Michael Cormick as The Beast, Rachael Beck as Belle, Hugh Jackman as Gaston, and Ernie Bourne as Maurice.
In South America, Brazil was the second country to held the musical. Disney had plans to bring it to the country in 1999, after the success in Argentina, but nobody really knew if it would work. Three years later, in 2002, Beauty and the Beast finally opened in Brazil at Teatro Abril, one of the biggest in the country. It was a huge hit, for more than one year and a half, it was presented with Kiara Sasso, playing Belle and Saulo Vasconcelos playing the Beast. In 2009, a new Belle and a new Beast were casted, Lissah Martins and Ricardo Vieira, as the musical came back to Brazil, Kiara Sasso was playing Maria in The Sound of Music and Saulo was Captain Von Trapp. Beauty and the Beast remained for six months at Teatro Abril. Even though the play was brought back as a way to try to recoup some of the money lost in Brazilian's version of Miss Saigon, this second encarnation of Beauty And The Beast failed to create any critical buzz, or to be a Box Office success.
In Spain there have been two productions of the show. The first one, based on the original Broadway production, had its Madrid debut on December 2, 1999 at Teatro Lope de Vega. The original cast included Xenia Reguant (later replaced by Julia Möller) as Belle, Carlos Marín (later replaced by Joe Luciano) as Beast, Lisardo Guarinos (later replaced by Manuel Bandera) as Gaston, Víctor Ullate Roche as Lefou, Germán Torres as Lumiere, Kirby Navarro as Mrs Potts, David Venancio Muro as Cogsworth, Dulcinea Juárez as Babette, Laura Inclán as Madame de la Grande Bouche and Miguel de Grandy as Maurice. After a successful run of 27 months and about 900 performances, the production finally closed on March 3, 2002, becoming the longest-running musical ever in Madrid. More recently, its record was surpassed by Mamma Mia!, Hoy no me puedo levantar and Sam Mendes' Cabaret.
In 2007 Disney Theatrical and Stage Entertainment produced a new version of the show using brand new sets and costumes and including the new song A Change in Me. This production premiered on October 3, at Teatro Coliseum, Madrid, for a limited run of 6 months, but the closing was postponed due to a successful season. The original cast included Julia Möller reprising her role as Belle (later replaced by María Adamuz), David Ordinas as Beast, Pablo Puyol as Gaston, Raúl Peña as Lefou, Armando Pita as Lumiere, Angels Jiménez as Mrs Potts (later replaced by Rita Barber), Esteban Oliver as Cogsworth, Silvia Luchetti as Babette, María José Oquendo as Madame de la Grande Bouche and Lorenzo Valverde as Maurice. The production closed on January 11, 2009 and was transferred to Barcelona, where it ran from February 26, 2009 to January 10, 2010, at BTM, with some changes in the cast, including Mercè Martínez as Mrs Potts, Marta Capel as Babette and Albert Muntanyola as Maurice.
According to , Beauty and the Beast has performed around the world in a total of 14 countries in 116 cities including Argentina (1998 and 2010), Australia (1995), Austria (1995), Brazil (2001 and 2009), Canada (1995), China (1999), Germany (1997), Ireland (2002 as part of the UK National Tour), Japan, (1995), Mexico (1997), Israel (2006), South Korea (2004), Spain (1999 and 2007), Poland (2008) and the United Kingdom (1997).
In 2005, Disney and Stage Entertainment produced a new version of the show using brand new sets and costumes. After touring Holland and playing in Antwerp, Belgium, Disney and Stage Entertainment brought the show to Berlin, Germany in 2006 after a (aprox.) one year-run at the Metronom Theater in Oberhausen. This production opened in 2007 in Madrid, Spain and in 2009 in Milan, Italy, with Arianna as Belle and Michel Altieri as the Beast. The Broadway production played a second time in Mexico City beginning in September 2007 and in Hiroshima, Japan beginning in February 2008. It opened in South Africa in September 2008. In 2004, Disney began to license the show to other companies for touring, and the show has been performed by professional and amateur companies in many countries. On October 24, 2013 "Beauty and the Beast" will open up at Mogador Theater.Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST to Make French-Language Debut in Paris, October 2013
Recently, the show's rights became available (in association with Josef Weinberger Ltd.) to amateur performing groups and regional musical societies. The show has been performed in numerous countries, by theatre companies of both an amateur and professional level.
- New song or instrumental cue
† Expanded vocal or instrumental content, using either cut lyrics by Ashman or dance arrangements by Glen Kelly, or both.
‡ "Human Again" was written by Menken and Ashman for the movie, but was cut. On account of the musical's great success an entirely new animated sequence was set to this song and inserted into 2002's Special Edition DVD release.
A Prince transformed into a terrifying beast for his lack of compassion; hot-tempered and commanding, but with a warm, loving heart buried far beneath his gruff exterior.
The story's antagonist. The vain, egotistical, ultra-masculine villain determined to marry Belle.
Lefou playes the comic sidekick to Gaston.