Beauty and the Beast is the story of a prince who is
magically transformed into a hideous beast by an old witch. In
order to break the spell, he must learn to love and be loved.
Based on the classic film, this stage version of Walt Disney's
Beauty and the Beast includes several new songs by Alan
Menken and Time Rice including "No Matter What", "Me",
"Home", "How Long Must This Go On?", "If
I Can't Love Her", "Maison des Loon", and "Transformation".
The score also includes "Human Again," a song originally
written by Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman for the film version
of Beauty and the Beast, but never used.
When Disney CEO Michael Eisner saw Paige O'Hara (Belle) and
Jerry Orbach (Lumiere) perform musical highlights from Beauty
and the Beast as part of an awards presentation in New York
City, he knew that audiences would embrace a live stage version
of the film. He turned to producer W. McTyre, director Robert
Roth and scenic designer Stan Meyer who immediately set out to
find a way to translate Beauty and the Beast to the
Broadway stage. With the help of costume designer Ann Hould-Ward,
they soon determined how best to make the enchanted objects from
the film instantly recognizable withouth impairing the actors'
movements, but they were still stumped when it came to recreating
onstage such effects as the Beast's mystical transformation back
into a prince. For this, they turned to John Gaughan and Jim
Steinmeyer who had designed illusions for magicians David Copperfield
and Siegfried & Roy.
Beauty and the Beast opened at the Palace Theatre on
April 18, 1994. It featured all of the characters from the film
including Belle, Maurice, Gaston, Lumiere, and Mrs. Potts. Hould-Ward
was awarded a 1994 Tony Award for "Best Costume Design"
for her work on the musical.
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