Beauty and the Beast, the musical, is based on the 1991 Disney film of the same name. Seven new songs were written for the stage musical. Beauty ran on Broadway for 5,464 performances between 1994 and 2007, becoming Broadway's eighth-longest running production in history. The musical has played in thirteen countries and 115 cities.
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.
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, 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.
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 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 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 production
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.
Canada: 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 host 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 theaters in the country. It was a huge hit, for more than one and a half years, it was presented with Kiara Sasso, playing Belle and Saulo Vasconcelos playing the Beast. In 2009, a new Belle and a new Beast were cast, 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, a second version produced by Stage Entertainment 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 Disney, 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.