Beauty and the Beast is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and a book by Linda Woolverton. It is based upon the 1991 Disney film of the same name. Seven new songs were written for the stage musical. Beauty ran on Broadway for 5,461 performances between 1994 and 2007, becoming Broadway's eighth longest-running production in history.
The musical has grossed more than $1.4 billion worldwide and played in thirteen countries and 115 cities. It has also become a popular choice for high school productions.
The story follows a young prince who falls under a curse by an Enchantress, as punishment for his selfishness and cruelty. Now a hideous beast, the prince must learn to love and earn their love in return, before the last petal of an Enchanted Rose falls. Should he fail, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time.
Beauty and the Beast premiered in a joint production of Theatre Under The Stars and Disney Theatricals at the Music Hall, Houston, Texas, from November 28, 1993, through December 26, 1993.
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, and is Broadway's eighth-longest running production in history (As of August 2011). 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.
The Broadway production closed to make way for Disney's next musical venture, The Little Mermaid. With Disney set to open 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 also had three other shows running at the same time: The Lion King, Tarzan, and Mary Poppins.
The West End production opened at London's Dominion Theatre on April 29, 1997 and closed on December 11, 1999. It won the Olivier Award as Best New Musical for 1998.
|Production||Beast||Belle||Gaston||Lumière||Cogsworth||Mrs. Potts||Chip||Maurice||LeFou||Madame de la Grande Bouche||Babette||Monsieur D'Arque|
|Original Broadway cast||Terrence Mann||Susan Egan||Burke Moses||Gary Beach||Heath Lamberts||Beth Fowler||Brian Press||Tom Bosley||Kenny Raskin||Eleanor Glockner||Stacey Logan||Gordon Stanley|
Variations from the 1991 film
- The three town Bimbettes (or Silly Girls as they're called in the musical) plead Gaston to choose one of them over Belle on his way to her cottage; he smugly assures them that his marriage to Belle will have no effect on any future rendezvous he will most likely have with them, meaning that he would not be a very faithful husband to Belle and would cheat on her constantly with the other women of the village. The Bimbettes also have more dialogue and an expanded role than in the film (including wailing and crying like infants before Me even begins), including actually witnessing and even partaking in the mocking of Maurice's claims about the Beast holding Belle prisoner, though they still don't appear during The Mob Song. In addition, they are implied to not be waitresses in this version due to being dismissed from the tavern alongside everyone else except LeFou in the reprise. In addition, their witnessing (and reacting angrily) to Belle's initial refusal towards Gaston was cut, presumably in order to avoid any implications that they might have supported Belle going with Gaston, and they are also shown to be gossiping about Belle in the opening song, when in the film, they only comment on Gaston passing by.
- In addition, in the musical, the Silly Girls are depicted in a more garish light in terms of physical appearances instead of being extremely attractive in the film. This was presumably done in order to further highlight Belle's status as the most beautiful woman in the village.
- Philippe the horse is removed from the story. Instead, Belle knits Maurice a scarf for good luck for his trip to the inventors’ fair. After he becomes prisoner of The Beast, the scarf is found in the woods by LeFou- having been sent there by Gaston to fetch a deer for the feast after his presumed marriage to Belle- and worn back to town (not knowing who it belongs to), thereby alerting Belle to her father’s disappearance. She heads into the woods on foot.
- The Feather Duster's name is Babette. In the film, it never says her name just like the wardrobe.
- The Wardrobe in Belle’s room (unnamed in the Disney film) is called Madame de la Grande Bouche and revealed to be a former famous opera diva, something that had previously only been alluded to in the Marvel Comic serial's second and twelfth issue.
- The dog-turned-footstool of the castle is not present in this version.
- Chip the teacup, though present, has his role greatly diminished due to the difficulty of pulling off his character convincingly. The head of his actor is usually stuck through the tops of tables and rolling carts wearing a teacup-shaped helmet. He is not seen individually mobile until after the spell is broken and he is human again.
- In the film prologue it is stated that the enchanted rose "would bloom until [the Beast's] 21st year." In the stage adaptation this is changed to an unspecified "many years."
- Prior to the reprise, all of the villagers, except LeFou and Gaston, are dismissed from the tavern shortly before the reprise, while in the film, everyone in the tavern heard the plan Gaston had, or at least enough details about it to deduce what he was planning. This was presumably done to avoid any implications that the villagers were all in the know about Gaston's plan of blackmail and supporting him. In addition, the reprise itself featured expanded lyrics making more clear that Gaston was fully aware of the dirtiness of his plan and has no remorse whatsoever in carrying it out. As a result, Gaston and LeFou sing the final lyrics of the reprise instead of the chorus.
- The magic behind the transformations is slightly modified: Instead of being fully transformed (as shown in the movie), the characters are slowly transforming into their respective objects. Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and Babette the Feather Duster lament this fact, revealing that some of the servants have already completely transformed and cannot speak, see, or move; they fear the same will happen to them if the spell is not broken soon, such as Cogsworth gaining a key in his back as the storyline unfolds. In addition, the original film originally implied that the curse's effects were instantaneous for all involved.
- As Lumiere and Cogsworth take Belle on a tour (right before she sneaks off to explore the West Wing), the Beast makes his way to her room with a plate of food in hopes of making amends with her. However, he overhears Belle voicing her distaste of him, and throws the plate away in anger and sulks off.
- A scene only briefly seen in the background in the film is expanded upon, where Belle teaches the Beast to read. Additionally, the book they read in the film is Romeo & Juliet while in the musical it is King Arthur.
- During "The Mob Song", Belle and Maurice are not imprisoned in their own basement; instead they decide to get a head start on the angry villagers and sneak off to the castle halfway through the musical number.
- Gaston repeatedly stabs Beast in the back rather than only once before losing his balance.
- After the Beast gets stabbed and Gaston loses his balance, the Beast is seen trying to rush and help him before he falls of the roof.
- After the spell is broken, Cogsworth and Madame de la Grande Bouche appear to have a romantic connection.
- In the Spanish version, only "Beauty and the Beast " keep exactly like in the film, the other songs were slightly modified (some words were different).
- Overture* — Orchestra
- Prologue — Orchestra
- Belle — Belle and Townsfolk
- No Matter What*# - Maurice and Belle
- No Matter What [Reprise]*#/Wolf Chase* — Maurice
- Me*# — Gaston
- Belle (Reprise) — Belle
- Home* — Belle
- Home (Tag)* — Mrs. Potts / Madame de la Grande Bouche (Jr. Broadway)
- Gaston† — Gaston, Lefou and townsfolk
- Gaston (Reprise)† — Gaston and Lefou
- How Long Must This Go On?*# — Beast
- Be Our Guest† — Lumiere and Enchanted Objects (Ensemble)
- If I Can't Love Her*# — Beast
- Entr'acte/Wolf Chase* — Orchestra
- Something There — Belle, Beast, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth, and Chip
- Human Again‡ — Lumiere and Enchanted Objects (Ensemble)
- Maison des Lunes# - Monsieur D'Arque, Gaston and Lefou
- Beauty and the Beast — Mrs. Potts
- If I Can't Love Her (Reprise)*# — Beast
- A Change in Me# — Belle
- The Mob Song — Gaston and the Mob
- The Battle* - The Mob and Enchanted Objects
- Home (Reprise)* — Belle
- Transformation* — The Company
- Finale — The Company
* 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, due to the complications it made on the film's timeline. It was repurposed for the Broadway play, and on account of the musical's great success, an entirely new animated sequence based on the Broadway version was set to this song and inserted into 2002's Special Edition DVD release.
§ "A Change in Me" was written into the show in 1998 and was retained thereafter.
# not in the Junior Broadway show.
- Beauty and the Beast France
- Beauty and the Beast on Tour
- Beauty and the Beast at Internet Broadway Database
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