A Look at Disney Return To The Theater: Screen To Stage: Beauty and The Beast





Hello & welcome back to A Look at Disney and today, we continue our Return To The Theater as we look at the very first stage adaption from Disney Theatrical as we look at Beauty and The Beast.  The importance of Beauty and The Beast cannot be understated.  It came to the stage in 1994, just three years after movie debuted in theaters and even back then, critics noted the Broadway quality of the musical  and boom, it was born.  Even if a lot of the reviews back then for the production were unfavorable but it has since gone on to become a Broadway staple with a run that culminated in 13 years. Though some critics have felt that bringing Beauty and The Beast to Broadway to an extent made Broadway seem kiddy with the onslaught of imitators that followed suit.  I don’t agree and think that there should be a place for more family friendly style shows on Broadway.  Yes, we do have a wealth of shows based on movies but something like Beauty and The Beast makes sense.  But for every Beauty and The Beast, you’ll have Rocky: The Musical or Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark  (Not based on a movie but you get my idea)

But even then,  if the material is strong enough,  a good musical can come out of the most surprising places such as Legally Blonde: The Musical is quite good.  But I’m getting off topic, as always, we will look at What’s The Same, What’s Different, New Music, and finally, I’ll give My Final Thoughts.  Let’s begin.
What’s The Same
Pretty much everything, very little was changed and I think that is part of the appeal of this musical for when it first came out. Seeing how they were going to bring something that was animated to life on a stage such as with the enchanted objects or the Beast’s transformation back into the Prince, which is one of the most stunning things that I’ve ever seen.
And in that sense,  Beauty and The Beast works great onstage.  It’s not like Mary Poppins or later Newsies in which, there were quite a number of changes made to those stories.  Quite honestly,  both of those do tell the same story of the movie that they are based on but in a rather different manner. Beauty and The Beast however just seems to be bringing the story to life onstage.  And part of me wonders if that was just Disney Theatrical playing it safe with this being their first attempt at adapting one of their movies to stage.
What’s Different
There are little things that are different here and there such as the Feather Duster and Wardrobe are expanded upon and given larger roles.   And Philippe,  Maurice’s horse is cut from the production and the story that Belle and Beast read in the stage production is changed to the story of King Arthur.   Honestly, they are small changes.
New Music
No Matter What
I do like this song as it shows the relationship between Belle and Maurice and how much they care for one another and how they will always stick by each other’s side.  It’s a sweet number between these two.
No Matter What (Reprise)
Our next number is a reprise of the first song as Maurice gets lost in the woods as he is attacked by wolves and he finds his way to the castle.  It’s a fun little reprise that reallys sets a great foreboding tone throughout the number.
I love this song as it is just absurd and so silly in how much Gaston thinks of himself and this perfectly captures his chauvinistic  attitude perfectly.  As he thinks that he is the greatest thing to ever grace the earth. I can’t help but laugh every time I hear this number.
Have you ever noticed that there are a lot of songs titled Home?  Seriously, I can think of at least two musicals with songs titled Home.  That tangent aside, this is a wonderful little number as you hear Belle and how much she isn’t going to let the situation get to her and she will stick up for herself, even if it will be hard.
Home (Reprise)
A short and sweet little number that reprises Home with Mrs. Potts singing as she tries to cheer up Belle.   Not much to say as I do like this number but it is rather brief.
How Must Long This Go On?
I’ll be honest and say that I forgot about until I heard it again for this blog and really it seems to be more setup for the next song than anything else.
If I Can’t Love Her
I’ve said it before but this is my favorite Beauty and The Beast song of all time as it does so much to give the Beast more character as you hear the pain and sorrow in his voice as he reflects upon the mistakes that he’s made that led to where he is and he doesn’t think that he is worthy of Belle’s love.  It’s heartbreaking and makes you feel for The Beast and want to see him succeed.
Human Again
This song is a bit of a cheat as it was written for the movie but cut for time and yeah, I can see why.  Granted, I think it works better here than when it was animated and put into the movie for a 2002 re-release as that was just jarring. I dunno, I just get nothing out of this number. It’s not bad per se but I just feel like I don’t need a song about the objects wanting to be human again.
If I Can’t Love Her (Reprise)
This comes after the iconic dance number and Belle wishes to be free to see her papa and this is such a sweet reprise of the song as Beast has finally learned what it means to love and he is finally displaying those actions.
A Change In Me
This song was added to the show in 1998, when Toni Braxton joined the cast as Belle and alas, her version of the song has never been released officially.   I’ve noticed that this number is a bit divisive amongst those who like the show as some think that this doesn’t fit the character of Belle.  I’m not sure that I fully agree with that as Belle is learning to grow out of her books and how to care for someone else as well and Beast has helped her be more social in that regard.   I feel that this song shows that both Beast and Belle have helped each other.
My Final Thoughts
Once again, the importance of Beauty and The Beast cannot be understated as it opened the door for Disney to try more with their musicals.  I do like the stage version a bit but this is a case where the movie is my preferred method of watching. I don’t know,  I think I like the movie more because I grew up with it and yes, that is true of most of the musicals that Disney has adapted save for Newsies as I didn’t see the movie of that until I was in my early 20s.  Again,  the stage production of Beauty and The Beast is wonderful but if I had to rank all of the Disney stage productions that I’ve seen, this would most likely fall in the middle.  Join me tomorrow for a special Music Fridays.
4 replies
  1. t-kun-unusual-wordsmith-iii
    t-kun-unusual-wordsmith-iii says:

    I’m sure but it was like a few years ago or something, when they were promoting the crap out of this one because it was featuring new songs or something, it was on the Disney channel a lot. Do you remember that or am I thinking of another musical of Disney’s work. Either way, bravo all the way of showing casing this one, thumbs up.

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