BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
COMPOSER: Alan Menken
LYRICIST: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice
BOOK: Linda Woolverton
SOURCE: Disney’s animated film Beauty and The Beast (1991)
DIRECTOR: Robert Jess Roth
CHOREOGRAPHER: Matt West
PRINCIPLE CAST: Gary Beach (Lumiere), Susan Egan (Belle), Terrence Mann (Beast)
OPENING DATE: Apr 18, 1994
CLOSING DATE: Jul 29, 2007
SYNOPSIS: Belle is a young girl who stumbles into a castle and is kept captive by its owner, a monster who was once a prince. Along with his staff, once humans now physical objects due to a witch’s curse, Belle will try to teach the Beast to love again before the Prince permanently stays as a monster.
This episode traces the way musical theatre artists Alan Menken and Howard Ashman reinvigorated the mass-appeal of Disney’s animated films, which in turn lead to a profitable pipeline between the children’s media conglomerate and New York City, beginning with a stage adaptation of the animated box office hit, Beauty and the Beast. The planned 1994 opening of Beauty and the Beast at the Palace Theatre directly influenced Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s prioritization of the commercial cleansing of Times Square, Disney’s exclusive access to the newly-renovated New Amsterdam Theatre, and the creation of Disney Theatrical Productions, which continues to adapt Disney films for the stage. Though critically panned, Eden Hildebrand demonstrates how the musical signaled a new age for Broadway’s reliance on spectacle, a future for family-friendly tourist entertainment, and a new definition of robust merchandising presence in the commercial theatre.
Eden Hildebrand is a Canadian performer, choreographer, director, and pedagogue. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University, and both a Bachelor of Arts in Dance (with a concentration in Choreography and Performance) and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Calgary.
MARCIA MILGROM DODGE’s work as a director & choreographer has been seen throughout the United States, in Canada, England, Asia, Denmark and the Middle East, in theatres on Broadway, Off-Broadway, at acclaimed regional theatres such as the New York City Opera, John F. Kennedy Center of The Performing Arts, Arena Stage, Goodman Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, Glimmerglass Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Huntington Theatre, Bay Street Theatre, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Goodspeed Musicals, Music Circus, Flat Rock Playhouse and abroad at the Nanta Theatre-Seoul, S. Korea, Fredericia Teater-Denmark, Royal Opera House-Muskat, Oman, Wintergardens Theatre-Blackpool, England.
Evan Ruggiero began dancing at the age of five in his hometown studio and by age ten, he was accepted into the famed New Jersey Tap Ensemble. Upon entering his sophomore year at Montclair State University while pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, Evan was suddenly diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer of the right leg. Enduring nine surgeries in a six-month period in an effort to save the leg, the cancer returned more aggressively than the original diagnosis. He was faced with the ultimate decision of amputation in order to stop the cancer and save his life, as well as undergoing chemotherapy for sixteen months. Eighteen months after the amputation, and only two days after receiving his “peg-leg”, Evan was tapping again.
Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical, Original Cast Recording. Walt Disney Records (1994)
Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, directed by Bill Condon. Walt Disney Pictures (2017)
Disney’s Beauty and The Beast: A Celebration of the Broadway Musical by Don Frantz, published by Disney Editions (1995)
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