23 Interesting Facts About Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

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Did you know that there is a hidden Mickey on the Beauty and the Beast set? Yes, it is true, and you can read about where to spot it later on in the article. Since 1994 the musical, based on the beloved film, has been thrilling audiences both young and old alike. But, what does it take to bring the show to the stage?

A traditional fairytale first published in France in the mid-18th century, “Beauty and the Beast” is an enduring story of love and friendship that has been translated into hundreds of versions worldwide. When Walt Disney Pictures released the animated feature film Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 1991 with a score by composer Alan Menken and the late lyricist Howard Ashman, it was hailed as an instant classic with critics praising its “songs worthy of a Broadway musical.” The film went on to win Academy® Awards for Best Song and Best Original Score and made history as the only animated feature ever nominated for Best Picture. Given the power of the film’s story and music, the decision was made to bring Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to the Broadway stage.

Disney Theatrical Productions assembled the creative team and worked hard to combine the strengths of the beloved film with the possibilities that only live theatre can offer. Linda Woolverton adapted her Disney’s Beauty and the Beast screenplay to the stage, adding new scenes to fill out the story for the stage. The Oscar®-winning score was expanded to include several new songs by Menken and veteran lyricist Tim Rice. Beauty and the Beast opened at the Palace Theatre on April 18, 1994, played on Broadway for over 13 years (5,461 performances, finishing its run at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre), ultimately becoming the eighth longest-running musical in Broadway history.

Read some interesting facts about the show below.

THE SHOW

  • 35 million / Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has become an international sensation, playing to more than 35 million people
  • 21 countries / The production has been mounted worldwide in 21 countries
  • 13 years / The musical ran for more than 13 years on Broadway
  • 8th / Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is the 8th longest running musical in Broadway history
  • 59 people / The traveling company comprises 30 cast, 2 parents, 12 crew, 11 musicians, 2 merchandise and 2 management personnel.
  • 3,300 and 30 / More than 3,300 people were auditioned to select the cast of 30
  • 6 / 1 / 6 / The musical score of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast contains 6 beloved songs from the Academy Award-nominated feature film, one song cut from the film that has been restored for the musical, and 6 original songs written for the musical.

THE PRODUCTION

  • 160 squares / There are 160 needle point squares that make up the bottom of the town drop.
  • The tavern building needle point scrim panel is a very traditional Latvian pattern that is called a “star.” This pattern is also repeated in Gaston’s pub and the town pieces.
  • There is a hidden “Mickey” in the tavern set drop … see if you can spot it!
  • 81 wigs / The production uses 81 wigs
  • 580 costume pieces / The Production uses 580 costume pieces, including some pieces from the original Broadway costumes.
  • 67 LED lights on the magic mirror
  • 36 mugs in Gaston’s tavern
  • 350 feet of streamers dispatched over the audience during “Be Our Guest”
  • 450 lbs / The “Star drop” – curtain with lights to create starry sky, weighs 450 lbs
  • 1,700 lbs / The West Wing set piece weighs about 1,700 lbs
  • 1 ton / The plate rail in “Be Our Guest” weighs almost 1 ton

 ON THE ROAD

  • 5 trucks / The physical production (sets, costumes, props) travels from city to city in 5, 18-wheel 53-foot tractor trailer trucks.
  • 2 buses / The cast and crew travel on 2 buses.
  • 37,664.9 miles / By the end of December 2010, the cast and crew will have logged 37,664.9 miles which is equivalent to crossing the US more than 11 times (from coast to coast)! And enough to have circled the globe one and a half times!
  • 238 square inches / Amount of grilling space on the grill for the crew bus; thousands of  hot dogs, burgers and steaks will be prepared on the tour.
  • 14 bicycles / We travel with 14 mountain and road bikes

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, part of the Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta 2012-2013 Series, plays at the Fox Theatre November 27 through December 3, 2012. Tickets are available at the Fox Theatre box office, by phone at  1-855-ATL-TIXX and online.