Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Opens AT Pittsburgh CLO Today

By: Jul. 27, 2018

Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Opens AT Pittsburgh CLO Today Pittsburgh CLO will fill the Benedum Center with magic and wonder fit for all ages with Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, July 27 - August 5. Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ran for a staggering 13 years and over 5,000 performances on Broadway. Now, Pittsburgh CLO brings this treasured story to life for a new generation, continuing the organization's commitment to providing young patrons the opportunity to enjoy live musical theater at home in Pittsburgh. Tickets are now available by phone at 412-456-6666, online at pittsburghCLO.org or by visiting the Box Office at Theater Square. Select half-price tickets for children 3-14 are sponsored by Giant Eagle, offering an affordable option for families to enjoy this timeless tale together.

Step into the enchanted world of Broadway's modern classic, Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, an international sensation that has played to over 35 million people worldwide in 13 countries! Based on the treasured Disney film, this Tony Award-winner stars your favorite characters, Belle, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth and more as they team up to teach the Beast the true meaning of kindness and love. Featuring remarkable costumes and exciting effects, the stage production is unlike anything you've ever seen - complete with a score of beloved songs including "Be Our Guest," "Something There" and "Beauty and the Beast." According to Good Morning America, "you'll have the time of your life!"

JESSICA GROVÉ (Belle) is returning to Pittsburgh CLO after appearing in Oklahoma! (Laurey, with Shirley Jones) and Disney's The Little Mermaid (Ariel). Broadway credits include: Les Misérables (Eponine), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Miss Dorothy) and the recent revivals of Sunday in the Park With George and A Little Night Music. She starred as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (Madison Square Garden/ National Tour, with Mickey Rooney and Eartha Kitt) and as Polly in The Boy Friend (National Tour, directed by Julie Andrews). Her favorite Regional credits include include: Into the Woods (The Witch), My Fair Lady (Eliza), The Sound of Music (Maria), Guys and Dolls (Sarah) and She Loves Me (Amalia).

James Snyder (Beast) returns to Pittsburgh CLO after starring in Million Dollar Quartet and South Pacific. His Broadway credits include: If/Then, In Transit, and Cry-Baby. He was also seen in Grand Hotel (Encores!), Beauty and the Beast, Casa Valentina, Carousel, Fanny (Encores!), Additional: Three Generations, Rock of Ages, Oedipus the King, Mama!, The Fantasticks, Hamlet, Oklahoma! and Star Wars Trilogy in 30 Minutes. Television credits include The Good Wife, Rizzoli & Isles, Blue Bloods, and Gilmore Girls. Film includes: She's the Man, An American in China, Anderson's Cross, Shuttle, Pretty Persuasion and Meth Head. Solo album: L.A. Curse (iTunes and JamesSnyder.com). BFA, USC.

Jason Michael Evans (Gaston) is making his Pittsburgh CLO debut. NYC credits: Passion directed by John Doyle (Private Augenti, Giorgio u/s), On Your Toes with Encores! (Hank Smith). Regionally: Ogunquit Playhouse, Drury Lane Chicago, Stages St. Louis, Tuacahn Amphitheater. TV: The Good Cop, Madam Secretary.

Michael Di Liberto (Cogsworth) is making his Pittsburgh CLO debut. His Broadway credits include Wicked (Doctor Dillamond). National and International Tours include: Wicked, Annie, Cinderella, Strike Up The Band and DOC with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been seen in select regional productions of: Sweeney Todd, The Producers (Leo Bloom; Helen Hayes Nomination, Best Actor), Elf the Musical, Oliver!, The 39 Steps, Around The World In 80 Days, Spamalot, LMNOP, Titanic and The Story Of My Life. He received a BFA from Syracuse University.

Jessica Fontana (Babette) was seen on Broadway in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (Cinderella alternate) and Baby It's You. She was seen off-Broadway and on tour in Once Upon A Mattress (Transport Group), Pipe Dream (Encores!) and Little House on the Prairie (National Tour). Her favorite regional credits include: Paper Mill Playhouse, Signature Theatre, The Smith Center, Denver Theatre, Pioneer Theatre Company, as well as revivals of The Most Happy Fella and 110 in the Shade at Palm Beach Dramaworks. Fontana's podcast, "Support For This Podcast" was recently featured in NY Magazine and listed on iTunes as "new and noteworthy."

Jeffrey Howell (Maurice) was last seen in Pittsburgh CLO's Titanic, Citizens Market at City Theatre and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Pittsburgh Public Theater. Last summer, he appeared in Damn Yankees at Sacramento Music Circus and Disney's Newsies at Pittsburgh CLO. His more than eighty productions at Pittsburgh CLO also include: Bells Are Ringing, Hello, Dolly!, Sunset Boulevard, South Pacific and Me and My Girl. Other productions include: Souvenir, Choir Boy, Tigers Be Still, Worksong and Red Herring. Television credits include All My Children and The Young and the Restless, as well as films credits in The Dark Half and The Cemetery Club.

Benjamin Howes (Lumiere) returns to Pittsburgh CLO after appearances in Shrek the Musical and Damn Yankees. Originally from Australia, Benjamin has performed on Broadway in: Scandalous, Mary Poppins and [title of show]. His off-Broadway credits include: The View Upstairs. National Touring productions include: Mary Poppins, Shrek and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (upcoming). His regional credits include A.R.T., The Old Globe, Goodspeed, Pittsburgh Public and Asolo Rep, among many others. Film credits include Miles and Easter Mysteries. Television credits include: a recurring role on HBO's The Deuce, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Flight of the Conchords and One Life To Live.

Andrew Kruep (LeFou) is making his Pittsburgh CLO debut. City Center Encores! credits include Grand Hotel and Big River. National Tours include: Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Elf the Musical (Kennedy Center, Madison Square Garden) and Rudolph (Madison Square Garden). Regional credits include: North Shore Music Theatre, Stages St. Louis, Fulton Theatre, Northern Stage and the Joyce Soho in NYC.

Jennifer Hope Wills (Mrs. Potts) returns to Pittsburgh CLO after starring in The Sound of Music (Maria) and Carousel (Julie). Broadway/NYC credits include: The Phantom of the Opera (Christine), Wonderful Town (Eileen) opposite Brooke Shields (cast recording), The Woman in White, Disney's Beauty and the Beast (Belle) and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Della) at City Center, Encores! Regional credits include: Show Boat (Magnolia), Brigadoon (Fiona), Camelot (Guinevere), My Fair Lady (Eliza), The Music Man (Marian) and Aspects of Love (Rose).

Kirsten Wyatt (Madame De La Grande Bouche) was seen on Broadway in Annie (Lily St. Regis), A Christmas Story: the Musical (Crusty Elf/Mrs. Schwartz), Elf (Santa's Elf), Shrek the Musical (Shoemaker's Elf), Grease (Frenchy, 2007 revival), High Fidelity (Anna), The Pajama Game (Poopsie), Urinetown (Little Becky Two Shoes), ...Charlie Brown (Lucy/Sally standby). Her other favorite credits include: Born for This (Tammy Faye Bakker), ...Spelling Bee (Rona), Cabaret (Sally), Mame (Gooch) Sweet Charity (Charity), Guys & Dolls (Adelaide). TV: Blue Bloods, Naked Brothers Band, All My Children, ATWT. She is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association.

DANIEL FRONTZ (Chip) returns to the Benedum Center, where he has played several roles with the Pittsburgh Opera, including Trouble in Madama Butterfly. He recently played Tiny Tim in Pittsburgh CLO's A Musical Christmas Carol at the Byham Theater and his now making his Summer Season debut. Daniel will be a sixth-grade theater arts major at Pittsburgh CAPA this fall, and will also continue his studies at the Pittsburgh CLO Academy of Musical Theater. He also sings with the Pittsburgh Boy Choir.

Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is completed with a talented ensemble including Katie Anderson, Grace Calio, Ben Cullen, Jerome Doerger, Alex Dorf, Courtney Echols, Tion Gaston, Jamary Gil, Cameron Anika Hill, Jessica Ice, Caroline Kane, Lily Kaufmann, Chloe Rae Kehm, Hunter Mikles, JP Qualters, Allan Snyder, Sarah Quinn Taylor, Ben Jackson, Walker, Davis Wayne and Andrew Wilson.

Michael Heitzman (Director) has multiple Broadway and regional credits including: 42nd Street at Drury Lane in Chicago, Legally Blonde the Musical, Big River at Sacramento Music Circus, and Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Shrek The Musical and Disney's The Little Mermaid at North Shore Music Theatre for which he was nominated for seven of Boston's IRNE Awards, including Best Director. Upcoming projects include Disney's Newsies at California Musical Theatre/Sacramento Music Circus. He has been the Resident Director of The Lucille Lortel Awards for eight years and was honored to put together this year's show hosted by Taran Killam. He is also the director and co-writer of VICES which was nominated for 8 Jefferson Awards, including Best Director. Other credits: Disney's Beauty and the Beast (associate director, Moscow, Paris, Amsterdam), Disney's The Little Mermaid (associate director, Paper Mill PlayhouseDallas Summer Musicals, 5th Avenue). For television, he co-wrote and directed the single camera situation comedy Scott Free starring Danny Burstein, Beth Leavel, Mary Testa and Kathy Najimy. He also directed the Broadway medley with James Inglehart, Mamma Mia!, Peter Gallagher and The Rockettes for the premiere episode of the Meredith Vieira daytime talk show. A 2009 Dramatist Guild Fellow, he and longtime writing partner Ilene Reid are co-writers of the Grammy-nominated song "Throw That Girl Around" from the Broadway musical Swing!, Their musical Bingo! The Winning Musical, co-written with David Holcenberg, had a successful off-­Broadway run and continues to have numerous productions both nationally and internationally. He and Ms. Reid are currently working with director/choreographer Josh Rhodes on their new musical Solana and have begun writing a musical adaptation of the Patrick Dennis novel, Genius. For samples and more information about his writing, go to www.heitzmanreid.com.

Robbie Roby (Choreographer) served as the Associate Choreographer of Disney's The Little Mermaid (National Tour). Choreography credits include: Little Shop of Horrors (California Music Theatre), Disney's Beauty and the Beast (La Mirada), Disney's The Little Mermaid (5th Ave Seattle), Hairspray (Sugarloaf PAC), The Tempest (Shakespeare in the Park), the world premiere of Beaches (Signature Theatre), Hairspray (Paper Mill Playhouse and Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas), Carnegie Hall Family Holiday Concert (The New York Pops), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Goodspeed), All Shook Up (MUNY), Memphis (TUTS), Crazy for You (Signature Theatre). As a performer, Robbie was the Dance Captain for the Broadway productions of Hairspray and Billy Elliot. He was also the Remount Supervisor/Dance Captain for the national tours of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat, Monty Python's Spamalot and performed with tours of Fiddler on the Roof and Starlight Express.

James Cunningham (Musical Director) is back for his second season as music director for Pittsburgh CLO. His New York credits include: Avenue Q (conductor), music director for Bunnicula (TheaterworksUSA and original cast recording) and Happy Birthday (TACT). National Tours: Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Spamalot, Evita and Cats. Regionally, he has conducted productions for Arena Stage, Casa Mañana, North Carolina Theatre, Sharon Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Engeman Theater, Paper Mill Playhouse, The MUNY and Cape Fear Regional Theatre. He holds degrees from Manhattan School of Music and New York University.

Paul Miller (Lighting Designer) has designed over 25 Broadway shows including: Amazing Grace, Legally Blonde, Freshly Squeezed, Laughing Room Only; Irma La Douce, Where's Charley?, Lost in the Stars, Of Thee I Sing and Music in the Air (Encores). His Off-Broadway credits include: Out Of The Mouths Of Babes, Clinton - The Musical, Lucky Guy, Nunsense, Vanities - the Musical, Waiting for Godot, Addicted and Balancing Act. Regional: Stratford Shakespeare, Chicago Shakespeare, Idaho Shakespeare, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Cleveland Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, Bay Street, Lookingglass and Goodspeed. Tours: Elf, Shrek the Musical, Storytime Live, Wizard of Oz, Sweeney Todd, Legally Blonde, Nunsense, Scooby Doo and The Sound of Music. Television: Live from Lincoln Center and New Year's Eve Celebration in Times Square.

Disney's Beauty and the Beast is a musical based upon the 1991 Disney film. After completing tryouts in Houston, Disney's Beauty and the Beast premiered on Broadway on April 18, 1994, starring Susan Egan and Terrence Mann as Belle and Beast respectfully. The musical was a commercial success and well-received by audiences. It has since grossed more than $1.4 billion worldwide and played in thirteen countries and 115 cities. The musical was also nominated for nine Tony Awards and won for Best Costume Design. The production ran on Broadway for 5,461 performances between 1994 and 2007, becoming Broadway's eighth-longest-running production in history.

In 2017, a live-action film of Beauty and the Beast premiered. The film was directed by Bill Condon from a screenplay written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos and co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Mandeville Films. The film was a reimagining of Disney's 1991 animated movie, but also included elements of the musical as well such as many new songs written by Alan Menken, but featured his musical classic, "Home," as an instrumental version throughout the film.

Linda Woolverton (Book) her writing credits include the screenplay for the animated feature film Beauty And The Beast (Golden Globe winner and Academy Award Best Picture nominee); the screenplay (shared) for Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey; screenplay (shared) for the animated feature film The Lion King; the book for the Broadway musical Beauty And The Beast (Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical, winner 1998 Olivier Award Best New Musical); and book (shared) for Elton John and Tim Rice's Broadway musical Aida. Also, she has written two young-adult novels, Star-Wind and Running Before The Wind. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Theatre Arts from California State University Long Beach and a Master's degree in Theatre from California State University Fullerton. Linda is currently involved in writing and producing film projects for Miramax and Revolution studios. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Lee Flicker and daughter Keaton.

Alan Menken (Music) is known for his music and lyrics that have now become an integral part of the fabric of our lives since his first works were produced nearly 40 years ago. His stage musicals include God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Atina: Evil Queen of the Galaxy, Real Life Funnies, Little Shop of Horrors, Kicks, The Dream on Royal Street, Beauty and The Beast, A Christmas Carol, Weird Romance, King David, Disney's The Little Mermaid, Sister Act, Leap of Faith, Newsies, Aladdin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and A Bronx Tale. Song and score credits for film musicals include The Little Mermaid, Disney's Beauty and The Beast (Animated), Newsies, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, The Shaggy Dog, Home on the Range, Enchanted, Tangled, Mirror Mirror and Beauty and the Beast (Live Action). Individual songs for film include Rocky V - "The Measure of a Man", Home Alone 2: Lost in New York - "My Christmas Tree" , Life With Mikey - "Cold Enough to Snow", Noel - "Winter Light", Captain America: First Avenger - "Star Spangled Man" and Sausage Party - "The Great Beyond". Television credits include: writing songs for: Sesame Street, the ABC mini-series Lincoln, a musical episode of The Neighbors, the ABC series Galavant and the Disney Channel's Tangled: The Series. His chart topping songs have included "Beauty and the Beast," "A Whole New World," "Colors of the Wind" and "Go the Distance". Winner of the 2012 Tony and Drama Desk awards for his score for Newsies, he has won more Academy Awards than any other living individual, including: eight Oscars with four for Best Score and four for Best Song; 11 Grammy Awards (including Song of the Year for "A Whole New World"), 7 Golden Globes; London's Evening Standard Award, the Olivier Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama Desk Award. Other notable achievements include induction as a member in the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2008 followed by receiving the lifetime achievement acknowledgement of the Johnny Mercer Award (2017); Billboard's number one single ("A Whole New World") and number one album (Pocahontas ). In 2001 he received the distinction of being named a Disney Legend. He was awarded two doctorates in Fine Arts from New York University and the North Carolina School of the Arts. In 2010 he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Recent live concert appearances include the Hollywood Bowl, Segerstrom Center and the Royal Albert Hall.

Howard Ashman (Lyrics) is best known as a pivotal creative mind behind the renaissance of Disney animation and his work on The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and The Beast (which is dedicated to, "Our friend, Howard Ashman, who gave a Mermaid her voice and a Beast his soul...") Ashman's first love was theater. He was a founder of off-off-Broadway's renowned WPA Theater, where he conceived, wrote and directed God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, as well as the classic musical, Little Shop of Horrors (both music by Alan Menken). In 1986, he wrote and directed the Broadway musical Smile (music by Marvin Hamlisch). Lamented as a lost treasure of the 1980's theater scene, Smile remains popular on High School and College campuses throughout the country. Howard Ashman died in 1991 from complications of AIDS. For more information, please visit howardashman.com.

Tim Rice (Lyrics) has worked in music, theater, and film since 1965, when he met Andrew Lloyd Webber, a fellow struggling songwriter. Rather than pursue Tim's ambitions to write rock or pop songs, they turned their attention to Andrew Lloyd Webber's obsession - musical theater. Their first collaboration, The Likes Of Us (lyrics by Tim, music by Andrew), was an unsuccessful show based on the life of Dr. Barnardo, the Victorian philanthropist. Their next three works together were much more successful: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita. Tim has also worked with other distinguished popular composers such as Elton John (The Lion King, Aida), Alan Menken (Aladdin, King David, Beauty and the Beast), Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson (Chess). He worked on From Here to Eternity with music by newcomer Stuart Brayson, coproduced with Lee Menzies, directed by Tamara Harvey and with book by Bill Oakes. It premiered in the West End at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2013. He formed his own cricket team in 1973 and was president of the MCC in 2002. In 2013, he wrote and presented a 52-part series for BBC Radio 2, American Pie, a trawl through the music and musicians of every American State.


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