Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ opened on Broadway 24 years ago this week. It was Disney’s first stage musical adaption of a beloved animated feature film and forever changed the way Broadway looks at musicals. It ran on Broadway for 13 years and had numerous touring productions. With songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman and starring Susan Egan as Belle and Terrence Mann as Beast, the soundtrack is still on of Disney’s greatest.
Recently Egan sat down with StageBuddy to reflect on the legacy of Beauty and the Beast:
“Disney broke rules and changed things in a very positive way, they were very protective of their first material,” said Egan. “Beauty and the Beast had been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture after all, and they insisted we had to look like the characters from the movie, I’m 5’4 and Terry [Mann] is 6’2, and that height difference isn’t exactly what the poster shows, so they put Terry in lifts and put me in flats so we’d be the exact proportion.”
“Look what they’re doing with their live action films too, they’re taking audiences to new places. Beauty and the Beast is 90 minutes and our show added an hour of material, we didn’t know if people would like it, but in a way we learned that our work had been done for us because people came in loving the material, and got to spend more time with characters they love. They got to see Belle sing with her father, sing ‘Home,’ and by the time the live action film came out, which I call Beauty and the Beast 3.0, they got even more background on the characters.”
“Home” is in my top 5 favorite Disney songs ever. Do you have a favorite song or moment from any production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast?
Photo credit: courtesy Disney, photo by Joan Marcus