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Five Things to Know About Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage

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Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage is an abridged retelling of the classic Disney animated feature. You’ll hear the music you love and enjoy, with great visuals thanks to terrific costuming and set decoration. It’s fun for all ages, especially fans of Belle and Prince Adam (yup, that’s his name)! To learn more, read on. Or if you prefer to storm on over to the nuts and bolts, here’s your shortcut.

1. The tale is as old as time.

This Broadway-style presentation of Beauty and the Beast manages to cover all the high points of the animated feature, including all the biggest musical numbers from the film. Like the film, it opens with a prologue recounting the how the Prince became the Beast, and all his servants were turned into household items. The condensed plotline introduces us to Belle and Gaston, and proceeds through the major events of the story in just 25 minutes.

We see Belle discover the Beast’s castle as she searches for her father, then meet Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts in time for dinner to be served. Songs are sung, Beast, Gaston, and the mob get angry in turn and a fight ensues. Gaston is defeated, but as the Beast lies dying Belle admits that she loves him, just as the last petal falls off the rose.

The Beast is transformed back into Prince Adam, and the whole cast returns to the stage to sing the finale in a happy ending. It’s a truly satisfying adaptation of the film and will leave you singing as you head out of the theater.

2. Songs as old as rhyme.

The music created by the team of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken has always been a major reason for the enduring success of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. And it’s no less true for this presentation, even in its compact format.

The original staging from 1991 to 2001 had five numbers performed, in this order: Be Our Guest, Belle/Gaston, Something There, The Mob Song, and Beauty and the Beast. It’s clear that this doesn’t follow the order of their appearance in the film, so when the production was updated in 2001, the order was changed to more closely match the chronology of the animated feature.

You can now enjoy hearing the Prologue: The Enchantress, Belle/Gaston, Belle (Reprise), Be Our Guest, Something There, The Mob Song, and lastly, Beauty and the Beast. As guests exit, the title song is played as performed by Celine and Peabo Bryson. And I don’t know about you, but when I hear the late Angela Lansbury sing – well, I’m pretty sure it’s allergies and not a tear in my eye.

3. Ever just the same? Not really…

Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage premiered November 22, 1991, the same day the animated classic was released in theaters. Performances were staged in the Theater of the Stars, but moved in September 1993 so that the construction of Sunset Boulevard could begin.

After that, the show was performed in the Premiere theater in the (now defunct) Streets of America. In 1994, the play found its home in the new Theater of the Stars on Sunset Boulevard where it remains to this day.

In 2001, the show was re-staged to the version we see today, but during the COVID-19 pandemic it was briefly replaced by the “Disney Society Orchestra and Friends”. Beauty and the Beast resumed regular performances on August 15, 2021.

4. There may be something here you didn’t hear before.

⭐ On November 22, 1991, Beauty and the Beast – Live Onstage debuted on the same day the animated feature film opened in theaters. It was the first time a Disney feature and the stage show based on it opened simultaneously.


⭐ Versions of the production have been performed at Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, but both are now closed.

⭐ Most of what you hear at performances is pre-recorded. You’ll hear familiar voices from the film, including Robby Benson (Beast), Jerry Orbach (Lumiere) and Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts).

⭐ The only two actors who have live onstage dialogue and do their own singing are Belle and Gaston.

⭐ Before the pandemic, an a cappella group called “Four For a Dollar” presented a musical pre-show. You can watch videos of them on YouTube. Currently, there is no preshow entertainment.

5. The Nuts and Bolts.

Beauty and the Beast – Live Onstage is performed in the 1,500 seat Theater of the Stars in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You’ll find the theater on Sunset Boulevard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with the entrance across from the Sunset Ranch Market.

Seats are long benches, one per row, and offer plenty of legroom. Almost every seat has a clear line of sight to the stage. Guests may remain in their wheelchair or ECV. Handheld Captioning, Assistive Listening and Audio Description are also available so everyone can enjoy the show.

You’ll want to take the weather into account when planning to take in the show. Because it’s basically an outdoor theater, showings may be canceled due to inclement weather. The queue is open-air but uncovered, so you’ll be exposed to the elements. Some seats are covered with a canopy, but it can get truly hot during daytime performances. And if you see a show after a brief rain shower, you may want to grab some napkins to wipe off the wet bench seat before you sit.

Disney advises that the show schedule may change daily, so check the My Disney Experience app for showtimes. The show is very popular, and we think you should plan to arrive 25-35 minutes early to get a good seat in the covered area. Beauty and the Beast is not open for Early Theme Park Entry or Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. Until July 24, you can use Lightning Lane entry via Genie+; after July 24, you can enter via Lightning Lane Multi Pass (LLMP). Do you need to? Perhaps if you’re on a tight schedule, but if not, the wait is seldom longer than until the next show begins.

The Bottom Line.

We think everyone will enjoy this production of Beauty and the Beast. Snacks are allowed, so grab something to enjoy during the performance. The actors portraying Belle and Gaston are top-notch talents; the costuming and lush staging are a visual treat, and you simply cannot beat the music. Besides, it’s a chance to sit down and rest your touring-weary feet while enjoying a half hour of great entertainment!

Have you been to see Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage? Let us know in the comments!

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Bob Jacobs

Bob Jacobs lives in Wisconsin where he retired as Editorial Director for a well-known catalog company. He and his wife Cristie have four children, seven grandchildren and a cocker spaniel named Penny the Dog. They’ve visited Walt Disney World regularly since 1992.

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