BREAKING NEWS: Get ready to pop those corks and BE OUR GUEST once more! Earlier this morning on ABC News, Thomas Schumacher revealed that a revival of Disney on Broadway's inaugural Award winning smash hit Beauty and the Beast is in the works!! The announcement comes on the heel's of the show's 25th Anniversary. No word has been announced for the creative team, when the revival will begin its run on Broadway, or casting.
Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was the first musical that launched Disney on Broadway. It's based on the 1991 Oscar Award winning Animated film of the same name. It tells the classic story of an arrogant young prince trapped inside the body of a hideous monster unless he can break the spell by earning the love of a beautiful woman and learning to love her in return. It features all the beloved songs from the 1991 Animated film by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman including the Oscar nominated songs BELLE and BE OUR GUEST, the Oscar winning title song, and more. It also features new songs written for the stage by Menken and Sir Tim Rice including NO MATTER WHAT, HOME, IF I CAN'T LOVE HER, A CHANGE IN ME. and more.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was first conceived as a Broadway musical in 1991 when the original animated film was released. It was praised by critics which audiences compared the film as if they were seeing a classic Broadway Musical. The press called it THE MUST SEE BROADWAY SHOW IN A MOVIE THEATER! With the response being crazy, the Disney team encouraged their former CEO Michael Eisner to give it a try. However, the road to transforming the 90 minute cartoon into a full 2 ? stage musical wasn't easy. Many questions were asked like how they would turn an actor back and forth from a Prince into a Beast and transform real humans into household objects? Luckily by magic, the Disney team came across director Robert Jess Roth who is a genius with doing spectacular concerts for rock stars and got more inspiration to expand the story. For the objects, they came up with an idea that when the Enchantress places the spell on the castle, they slowly turn into objects as the petals keep falling off the Enchanted rose. In addition to the beloved songs written for the film by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman (who passed away right before the film was released), acclaimed lyricist Tim Rice came on board to co-write some new songs with Menken to help expand the story and characters. It took 2 years to expand the translate the 90 minute film into a 2 1/2 hour extravaganza.
Following its world premiere run in Houston at the Theatre Under The Stars, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST finally arrived on Broadway in 1994 at the Palace Theatre before later transferring to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. It played a total of 5,507 performances. The cast featured?
Tony nominee Susan Egan (later Sarah Uriarte Berry, Pop singer Deborah Gibson, Grammy winning R&B star Toni Braxton, Tony nominee Andrea McArdle, Tony nominee Kerry Butler, Sarah Litzsinger, TV star Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Megan McGinnis, Ashley Brown, Disney channel stars Christy Carlson Romano, and Anneliese van der Pol, and more) as "Belle",
and much more.
The show went on to be nominated for 9 Tony Awards that year winning only 1 for Best Costume Design (for Ann Hould-Ward).
Following the success of the Broadway company, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST went on to become a worldwide spectacular family musical. For many children, it was their first Broadway show. There were productions everywhere from London?s West End, multiple US National Tours, and productions translated into almost every major language.
FUN FACT: The song A CHANGE IN ME (which is the big 11:00 number sung by "Belle" talking about what her life has been since she and "The Beast" became close) was added later into the Broadway run in 1998 when Toni Braxton joined the cast (and made history being the first African American Actress to play ?Belle?). It fit so well in the production, it became a favorite of the musical ever since. Later on during the Broadway run the coda was changed to grand higher belt and orchestrations for when Ashley Brown made her Broadway Debut with the show as the 15th Actress ever to play ?Belle?, In most productions today, they use the high coda.
Who is excited to experience this iconic TALE AS OLD AS TIME back on the Great White Way?!!!
Disney Theatrical Productions will revisit the show that kicked off Disney?s reign on Broadway 25 years ago.
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