Beauty and the Beast Theater Show Discussion – Broadway Breakdown

Hosts Briana Phipps, Jacque Borowski, Marisa Serafini and Dakota T. Jones welcome guest Marc Kudisch to discuss the theatre musical of Beauty And The Beast.

Beauty and the Beast is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton. Adapted from Walt Disney PicturesAcademy Award-winning 1991 animated musical film of the same name – which in turn had been based on the classic French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont[1] Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a cold-hearted prince who has been magically transformed into an unsightly creature as punishment for his selfish ways. To revert back into his true human form, the Beast must first earn the love of a bright, beautiful young woman whom he has imprisoned in his enchanted castle before it is too late.

Critics immediately noted the film’s Broadway musical potential when it was first released in 1991, who hailed it as one of the year’s finest musicals, encouraging Disney CEO Michael Eisner to bravely venture into Broadway. All eight songs from the animated film were reused in the musical, including a resurrected musical number which had been cut from the motion picture. Original songwriter Menken composed six new songs for the production alongside lyricist Rice, replacing Ashman who had died during production of the film. Woolverton, who had written the film’s screenplay, adapted her own work into the musical’s libretto, and specifically expanded upon the characterization of the Beast. Woolverton also expanded the storylines of the castle staff from servants who had already been transformed into household objects into humans who were gradually turning into inanimate objects. Costumes were designed by Ann Hould-Ward, who based her creations on both the animators’ original designs as well as the Rococo art movement after researching how clothing and household objects looked during the 18th century.

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