Book by Linda Woolverton, based on the fairy tale and the Disney animated feature, Beauty and the Beast. Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. The original Broadway production opened on 18 April 1994 and was directed by Robert Jess Roth, with choreography by Matt West. The production closed on 29 July 2007, running for 5 464 performances.
Synopsis and Musical Numbers
PROLOGUE: “Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young Prince lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the Prince was spoiled, selfish, and unkind. But then, one winter’s night, an old beggar woman came to the castle and offered him a single rose In return for shelter from the bitter cold. Repulsed by her haggard appearance, the Prince sneered at the gift, and turned the old woman away. But she warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for Beauty is found within. And when he dismissed her again, the old woman’s ugliness melted away to reveal a beautiful Enchantress. The Prince tried to apologize, but it was too late, for she had seen that there was no love in his heart. And as punishment, she transformed him into a hideous beast, and placed a powerful spell on the castle, and all who lived there. Ashamed of his monstrous form, the Beast concealed himself inside his castle, with a magic mirror as his only window to the outside world. The Rose she had offered, was truly an enchanted rose, which would bloom for many years. If he could learn to love another, and earn her love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time. As the years passed, he fell into despair, and lost all hope, for who could ever learn to love a Beast?”
Nearby, in a small village, a beautiful young woman named BELLE hurries through town. Belle tried to have a conversation with the Baker about the book she was reading – about a beanstalk and an ogre – but he is too busy and carries on with his work. The rest of the townsfolk gossip about Belle, who is rushing to her favourite shop – the bookstore. The owner gives her a book as a gift. A dreamy look crosses Belle’s face – it is a story full of her favourite things – far-off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, and a prince in disguise! Belle thanks the bookseller and leaves, reading as she walks. The handsomest man in town, Gaston, and his sidekick, LeFou, arrive in the village after a hunting trip. They see Belle and Gaston tells his friend that he will be marrying Belle – because she is the most beautiful girl around and that makes her the best! His fan club of Bimbettes watches his every move. Gaston catches up with Belle and tells her that it its about time for her to get her nose out of books and pays attention to more important things – like him. Belle tries to get away without being rude, but LeFou joins them and starts insulting her father, an inventor. Belle tries to defend him, but as she speaks, an explosion booms from her father’s cottage and she runs off to help.
At the cottage, Belle tells her father and what the villagers are saying about her and how they all think that she is odd. Maurice reassures her that his new invention, a woodchopper, will change their lives for the better (NO MATTER WHAT). He hitches up their horse, Phillipe, and sets off for the inventor’s fair. Belle waves as she watches him disappear over the hills.
But Maurice gets lost and leads Philippe into a bleak forest (NO MATTER WHAT – REPRISE). When wolves attack them, Philippe gallops off as fast as he can and Maurice runs through the forest with the wolves racing behind him. When he reaches a tall heavy gate, Maurice dashes inside, slamming the gate behind him. He turns to see a huge, forbidding castle. He enters, calling to see if anyone is there and if he can stay there overnight. A voice welcomes him and says that he may stay with pleasure. Maurice looks around and sees frowning mantel clock and a smiling candelabrum! They are the Beast’s servants, who had been turned into household objects. Cogsworth, the mantel clock, protests while Lumiere, the candelabra, takes Maurice into the drawing room. There he meets a friendly teapot, Mrs. Potts, and her son, Chip. Suddenly, the door flies. It is the Beast, who angrily grabs Maurice and locks him in one of the towers of the castle.
Back home at the cottage, Belle hears a knock at the door and opens it to find Gaston on her doorstep, with a wedding proposal on hand (ME)! Belle manages to manoeuvre Gaston back out the door – as he leaves he trips and falls in the mud. When Belle peeks out, she sees that the villagers had gathered in her yard hoping to see a wedding. The vicar and all Gaston’s friends had just seen him humiliated! After everyone leaves, Belle goes outside to feed the chickens and dreams of a future where she can me more than just a wife to the boorish, brainless Gaston (BELLE – REPRISE).
Phillipe arrives, alone. Belle realises that something is wrong and goes to search for her father. Soon, they find castle. Belle hurries inside and wanders around, calling out for her father. No one replies, but the Enchanted Objects see her and hope that she will be the one to break the spell. Without noticing them, Belle continues to search for Maurice and finally, discovers him in the tower. Suddenly a voice bellows from the shadows – the Beast has discovered her presence. Belle begs the Beast to let her take her father’s place and agrees to stay in the Beast’s castle forever so that her father can be freed. The Beast drags Maurice out of the castle and throws him into a carriage that will return him to town.
There, the inventor stumbles into a tavern where Gaston was surrounded by his friends. They are trying to cheer him up after the disastrous wedding attempt (GASTON). Maurice asks them to help him rescue Belle from the Beast, but they just toss the inventor out of the tavern, dismissing the story as the ramblings of a crazy old man. But Maurice’s wild story gave Gaston an idea – a plot to have Maurice put in Mr. D’Arque’s insane asylum unless Belle agrees to marry Gaston (GASTON – REPRISE).
At the castle, Belle is taken to her room (HOME). Once she is alone, she weeps, knowing that she will never see her father ever again. That night, Belle refuses to dine with the Beast (HOW LONG MUST THIS GO ON?). Instead, she creeps downstairs to the kitchen, where the Enchanted Objects feed and entertain her (BE OUR GUEST). Afterwards, Cogsworth takes Belle on a tour. She wanders off into the West Wing and finds a hallway lined with broken mirrors. The room at the end of the corridor is dark and filthy – the only living object is a rose, shimmering beneath a glass dome. The Beast finds her there – these are his private quarters – and tells her to leave immediately. Terrified by his rage, Belle flees from the castle. She finds Philippe and they gallop through the snow until they met a pack of fierce, hungry wolves. All seems hopeless when the Beast arrives and saves them. He is badly hurt and Belle helps him to get back to the castle. She cleans his wounds and thanks him for saving her life (IF I CAN’T LOVE HER).
The Beast shows her a beautiful library and that evening, Mrs. Potts and the other objects watch Belle read a story to the Beast. They were filled with hope that the Beast and Belle were falling in love. The mood in the castle begins to change and Belle discovers that the Beast has a kind, gentle side to him – something that she hadn’t seen before. In turn, the Beast begins to hope that Belle will care for him (SOMETHING THERE). The enchanted objects are thrilled and all dream of being HUMAN AGAIN. Meanwhile, Gaston plots with Mr. D’Arque to have Maurice locked up so that he can manipulate Belle (MAISON DES LUNES).
Back at the castle, the Beast and Belle have a wonderfully romantic evening, with dinner, dancing and music – all provided courtesy of the enchanted objects (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST). That evening, the Beast asks Belle if she is happy. She says that her only wish is to see her father again. The Beast shows Belle the magic mirror. In it, she sees Maurice lost in the woods, ill from his search for her. The Beast decides to let her go to him, even if it means that the spell will not be broken. He gives her the magic mirror so that she can remember him. Heartbroken, the Beast watches her leave (IF I CAN’T LOVE HER – REPRISE).
Belle finds Maurice and takes him home. Almost as soon as they arrive, Mr. D’Arque arrives to take Maurice to the asylum! Gaston is also there and tells her he will sort out everything if she agrees to marry him. She refuses, telling him that she can prove that her father was not crazy in his ravings about the Beast. Belle shows them the Beast in the magic mirror telling everyone that he is kind and gentle. Enraged, Gaston rallies the villagers into a mob. They lock Belle and her father in the cellar and storm the Beast’s castle (THE MOB SONG).
As the villagers battle the enchanted Objects, Gaston forces the Beast, who doesnï¿½t even try to resist, onto the castle roof. Meanwhile, Chip helps Belle and Maurice escape from the cellar using the woodchopper. When the Beast sees Belle has returned he starts to fight back. But his love for Belle has made him human. He lets Gaston go and turns to Belle. Gaston tries to kill him one more time but slips and falls off the roof to his death. Wounded, the Beast gazes at Belle before he collapses. She runs to him and tells him that she loves him. Suddenly, the rain begins to shimmer. Slowly the Beast opens his eyes and in astonishment, he watches his paws transform into hands (THE BATTLE / TRANSFORMATION). He holds them out to Belle. Belle hesitates, looks into his eyes – and knows the soul that lies behind them. The Prince draws her close and kisses her. Then they watch happily as Cogsworth, Lumiere, Chip, Mrs. Potts and all the other servants become human. True love has finally broken the spell and everyone dances for joy (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – REPRISE).
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