Every now and again one comes across a “crazy concept” that is used to bring new life into a classic show. Such concepts are not necessarily ‘crazy’; they are merely unconventional. I stumbled across this one on Musicals Dot Net, posted by a user known as “broadwayfreak67”:
My school is doing Beauty and the Beast this coming school year, and I have an idea of how to put Cogsworth, Lumiere, and all of the other characters that were from the castle (not the Beast) into “Belle”: have Lumiere, for example, with a candle (the old looking ones with the handles) and the duster with a broom or something.
In other words, it would make use of the technique used by The Wizard of Oz whereby, for example, the actors playing the three farmhands double as the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion. The difference between the two shows is that the double casting in The Wizard of Oz has some resonance beyond coincidence – there is a strong connection between the characters in Kansas and Oz – while, in Beauty and the Beast, one would have to skirt around this pitfall of making Belle’s experiences in the castle appear to be a dream or an alternate world conceptually based on her life in the village, an idea that could confuse the audience if it was too prominent a part of the action. As such, I think it would be essential that it is clear that the village characters are neither the enchanted objects nor their human counterparts.
The other thing that occurs to me is that, in the high school context mentioned in the quote above – or in any other production where one might be trying to include larger numbers in the cast for whatever reason), six spots on stage that should belong to the chorus would be taken up by people who already have lead roles.