Beauty and the BEAST

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A Broadway-style production at the Theater of the Stars

All of the action, humor and romance that made Walt Disney Pictures’ animated classic "Beauty and the Beast" a favorite among film audiences also explains the popularity of "Beauty and the Beast -- Live On Stage" at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The 25-minute musical extravaganza uses elaborate props, extravagant costumes, colorful production numbers and dramatic special effects to tell the mesmerizing, fairy tale love story of Belle and the Beast. Tens of thousands of guests have seen the live show since it debuted at Theater of the Stars at Disney-MGM Studios in 1991.

Many elements found in the film also are used in the stage show, including the vocal talents of stage and screen stars such as Robby Benson (Beast), Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts, the teapot), Jerry Orbach (Lumiere, the candelabra), David Ogden Stiers of "M*A*S*H" (Cogsworth, the clock) and young Bradley Pierce (Chip, the cup), who brought to life the film’s most endearing characters.

The stage production also borrows many of the film’s popular songs. Credit for the collection of toe-tapping tunes belongs to Academy Award-winning composers Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, who also collaborated on the score from "The Little Mermaid."

"The stage show brings the film to life, while keeping all the magic and wonder of the animated version," said Jan Jacobsen, one of the show’s stage managers.

As the show opens, audiences are welcomed by "Be Our Guest," a fun, upbeat number, performed by a collection of dancing chefs, bubbling bottles and a sherbet parfait that becomes a beautiful show girl.

A quaint, French country village is where Belle, the beautiful heroine, and Gaston, the over-sized villain with an equally large ego, first appear and perform.

"The Mob Song" is the scariest and most suspenseful part of the show and takes place in a dark forest pierced with streaks of lightning, wolves’ eyes and huge bats with 8-foot wing spans. Here, Gaston leads the villagers on a rampage to "kill the beast." This tirade results in the emotional climax in which Belle proves that love conquers all as the Beast miraculously transforms -- on stage -- into a handsome prince!

In the final scene, Belle and her prince dance to the tender theme song "Beauty and the Beast," recorded by Angela Lansbury, while surrounded by dazzling special effects, white doves and serenading beaus and maidens -- a true fairy tale ending.

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