Kids love Beauty and the Beast for the lovable characters and the wonderful artwork. However, many parents and young adults love the film for its music. The collaboration of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman gave us some of the most beloved movie songs of the 1990s, including “Beauty and the Beast” (performed by Angela Lansbury), “Belle” and “Be Our Guest.” The latter is a song so ingrained in public consciousness (and so often used in commercials) that many people swear it’s been around for ages. No, it’s definitely a new age “classic”, as Beauty and the Beast was released in 1991.
The popularity of the movie’s music explains why Disney and film producers were so interested in adapting the musical to the stage where great music, singing and dancing are truly the number one attraction. The film itself is unique because many of the songs performed actually describe action happening, in opera style. “Belle” is a notable example of this. Therefore, seeing Beauty and the Beast on stage is a musical lover’s treat–not to mention a child’s dream.
The classics of Menken and Ashman are back, though some lyrics were actually written by Tim Rice after Ashman’s death. You can definitely hear the difference and appreciate how much the two creative fellows complemented each other. Menken has gone on to score many other great compositions (most recently Tangled), but no songs to this day have the beastly power or dreaming beauty of this pioneering Best Picture nominee.
It should delight you to know that when you see Beauty and the Beast in the theater, you also get to hear seven additional songs besides the original soundtrack. The most popular new songs include “No Matter What”, sung by characters Maurice and Belle, “How Long Must This Go On?” by the Beast, and “Human Again” sung by Lumiere and castle company. (This song was actually cut from the original film!)
This production was nominated for multiple Tony Awards in 1998 and actually won an award for Costume Design. It didn’t quite beat “Passion” for the grand prize but still cemented Disney’s place in the Broadway scene. Come experience this new age classic live and on the front row!