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Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

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macbeth
Broadway Star
joined:5/7/03
Broadway Star | Joined: 5/7/03

Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#1
Posted: 4/18/20 at 3:20pm

With today being the anniversary, I'm wondering who else saw the glorious original production before it moved and was shrunken down? I remember going in skeptical, but being overjoyed and thrilled by what the Imagineers pulled off, along w/ Susan Egan and the rest of the company. 

I wonder - do the Imagineers still help with stage effects or is that now all Disney Theatrical? 

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HeyMrMusic
Broadway Legend
joined:5/16/04
Broadway Legend | Joined: 5/16/04

Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#2
Posted: 4/18/20 at 4:08pm
Beauty and the Beast at the Palace was my introduction to Broadway. It changed my life. Truly magical.
RWPrincess
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/18
Broadway Star | Joined: 12/7/18

Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#3
Posted: 4/18/20 at 4:26pm

My all time favorite show. I saw it twice at the Lunt and then last year at Paper Mill. I'm still hopeful we get the revival that Tom Schumacher mentioned a few months ago. Post COVID-19 Broadway might be good timing for it. 

I think the shows are pretty much run by Disney Theatricals now. The How Does The Show Go On books are good for background info on development and such. There are 3 versions now.

It's not the same but Disney posted part of the Disney Dream version of the show last week. It takes after the 2017 live action film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=ctEpq9Opnyk&feature=emb_logo

Alessio2
Broadway Star
joined:11/15/13
Broadway Star | Joined: 11/15/13

Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#4
Posted: 4/18/20 at 4:41pm

Does the Disney Dream production include the Belle ballad Home?

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Shubert Alley Cat
Stand-by
joined:7/1/08
Stand-by | Joined: 7/1/08

Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#5
Posted: 4/18/20 at 6:17pm

I saw this show on my first NYC trip in 1995 after I graduated from high school.  My mother took me to see SUNSET BOULEVARD w/ Glenn Close, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, MISS SAIGON, the Hal Prince SHOWBOAT, and LES MIS (which we had seen before on tour).  It was a magical trip and I can remember BEAUTY fondly.

God I loved that "Be Our Guest" number with the candles coming up out of the stage and the champagne bottles sparkling at the end.  The audience went nuts for at least two minutes at the end of that number.  The magic of the "Transformation" of the beast into a prince at the end of the show is still quite vivid in my memory and I still have no idea how they pulled it off.  You can always count on Disney for some true magic and they sure did with the original production of this show.

Though I was only 18 at the time, this trip to NYC and Broadway was just the first of many I've taken in the subsequent 25 years, so I was hooked on the theater 100% after that trip, and a big part of that was due to this show.  I don't think we can underestimate how many young people (like I was at the time) became devotees of theater because of this show.  And not just for mega-musicals, but all kinds of theater - I love it all!

Thank you, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and Disney!  

MollyJeanneMusic
Broadway Star
joined:3/10/19
Broadway Star | Joined: 3/10/19

Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#6
Posted: 4/18/20 at 6:36pm

I have a few stories with this show.

My parents saw the show for their second anniversary.  Andrea McArdle was playing Belle at the time, but when my parents saw the show, at the last second, there was an announcement over the loudspeaker that her understudy would be on.  There was a loud collective groan from the audience, and my mom remembered feeling really bad for her understudy.  She always remembered it being directly before the "Little town/It's a quiet village" part - then I reminded her that that's not how the show starts.

I saw the show in 1st grade on tour - I had sung "Home" at my school talent show, and so my parents and I drove up to Providence to see it.  It was the first time I ever saw a show on tour, and it was wonderful.  There were maybe two cast albums I listened to when I was young - Mary Poppins, which was my first Broadway show, and BatB.  "Home" immediately became a very special song to me, and when I saw the live-action movie...

 
Click Here To Toggle Spoiler Content

During the scene where the last petal fell and the others in the castle died, the "What I'd give to return to the life that I knew lately" melody played in the background.  I wasn't emotional during the  entire movie - but when I recognized the song, I started bawling.

 

Back in June, immediately after I saw Hadestown, my parents and I were watching an interview of Patrick Page.  He mentioned playing Lumiere in the show, and my dad paused the video and said "Get the Playbill."  I ran upstairs and found my parents' Beauty and the Beast Playbill from when they saw the show - sure enough, they had seen Patrick Page as Lumiere.  A true full circle moment.

(Also, for the rumored revival, may I request a Great Comet reunion with Denée Benton as Belle and Josh Groban as the Beast, please.)

"It's you." "It's me. Orpheus." "Eurydice..." *crying*
Updated On: 4/18/20 at 06:36 PM
sparksatmidnight
Featured Actor
joined:1/26/19
Featured Actor | Joined: 1/26/19

Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#7
Posted: 4/18/20 at 6:43pm

It doesn't. It's pretty much the 2017 movie on stage

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BenjaminNicholas2
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joined:3/6/09
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Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#8
Posted: 4/18/20 at 8:41pm

I saw it at TUTS, long before it went to Broadway.  It was fine. 

It ushered in Disney being a force on Broadway.  For better or worse.

 

If you didn't grow up on true classics, I see how you could be enamoured of the smoke & mirrors this show had.  It was pretty.  It moved quickly.  Only the later addition of 'Home' was interesting to me.

Susan Egan and Terry Mann are talented.  They've done better things.

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PatrickDC
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joined:10/3/16
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Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#9
Posted: 4/19/20 at 12:07am

I never saw it in NYC but went to a matinee in London at the massive Dominion Theatre. I was surrounded by a bunch of little kids and a few adults. I thought this is going to be miserable, but wow was I wrong. The children, if I recall all dressed up in sport coats and cute dresses, some may have been in school uniforms, were so well behaved. No fidgeting, no pleas to use the restroom repeatedly, no talking. They were completely caught up in the performance and applauded. Just perfect little patrons. 

I also recall there being tiny red binoculars on the seatbacks. You put in a coin and I think you got it back when you clicked the binoculars back in the holder. I didn’t recall seeing those in other theaters on other trips to London. 

I loved both the film (both versions) and musical. 

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The Distinctive Baritone
Broadway Legend
joined:8/28/04
Broadway Legend | Joined: 8/28/04

Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#10
Posted: 4/19/20 at 2:00am
I saw it during the first year of its original run. One of my first Broadway shows. Chuck Wagner, the standby, was on as the Beast. Many years later I met him and told him I saw him as the Beast when I was twelve and he said, “Thanks for making me feel old!” lol
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Chowd95
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joined:7/16/13
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Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#11
Posted: 4/19/20 at 2:39am
Dug out my Playbill and was shocked to see we saw Andrew Keenan Bolger as Chip. This show was really beautiful and had such cool sets and special effects. "Home" ranks up there with the best of the Disney ballads even though it's not canon.
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blaxx
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/05
Broadway Legend | Joined: 6/28/05

Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#12
Posted: 4/19/20 at 5:31am

What I remember most were the dramatics in NYC around the production. If I remember correctly, it had that Houston try-out; but this was before the internet - no one knew much about it. Everyone on Broadway assumed we were gonna get a 2 hour version of the theme park version of the show and that it was going to flop bad. Well, we were all in for a big shock. 

After its success came The Lion King, and there was this overall feeling that Disney and other similar businesses would take over Broadway completely. Then Tarzan happened and the rest is history.

Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
JennH
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joined:11/14/13
Broadway Legend | Joined: 11/14/13

Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#13
Posted: 4/19/20 at 12:18pm

^^^I got a great giggle out of that! Tarzan and Little Mermaid were just...blech. Tarzan isn't stage musical material mostly because of how the music functions in the film. You can't expect unseen third person POV songs to work in a musical. LM could have worked with more creative thought, but fell very flat. To this day, BntB and LK are still Disney's best stage musicals in every aspect. 

I saw BntB in 2005 so it was already at the Lunt Fontanne, and I keep hearing it was very much scaled down...now I was on a MAJOR case of jet lag at the time, so I don't remember much of what I saw, but what I DO remember was pretty friggin magical anyway....I miss it so dearly, and is a rare revival I'm glad is happening, especially since you'd never think Disney would do a revival. All I hope is that they won't base it off the 2017 film. I don't mind a rewrite or two, such as changing the "illiterate Beast" plot point (Now that I'm older and wiser, I realize that was kind of ridiculous) to both Belle and Beast being very well read therefore have a commonality to body over. It's really the only thing the 2017 film got right in terms of how you get your tsundere romantic leads to realize they're a match. 

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GiantsInTheSky2
Broadway Star
joined:10/29/14
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Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#14
Posted: 4/19/20 at 2:49pm
My parents brought me to see the national tour premiere in Minneapolis as my first actual show (had only seen regional up to that point) and feel in love with everything I saw on that stage. The set design, orchestrations, special effects, it all blew me away.

I have a distinct memory of 3 years later, driving home from seeing another show and hearing on the radio that Toni Braxton was in negotiations to play Belle on Broadway. My mother swore that they had to be talking about ANOTHER Toni Braxton.

The coffee table book for the show is still one of my favorites.
I am big. It’s the REVIVALS that got small.
bwaylvsong
Broadway Legend
joined:7/28/05
Broadway Legend | Joined: 7/28/05

Beauty & the Beast Disney Memories

#15
Posted: 4/19/20 at 3:40pm
“Beauty & the Beast” at the Palace was my first Broadway show (I was 6, I think), and it had me hooked for life! I found my playbill some years later and saw that I had seen Kerry Butler as Belle, Marc Kudisch as Gaston, and then-standby Steve Blanchard as the Beast (who I saw again in the role a decade later). I still remember several scenic elements and special effects that had been toned down for the Lunt, such as the champagne sparklers from the end of “Be Our Guest” and the depth/detail of the castle interior and village sets.