CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 6, 2000
Broadway hit 'Beauty and the Beast' brings Disney magic to Hancher stage
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The hit Broadway musical "Beauty and the Beast"
will bring Tony Award-winning Disney magic to the stage of the University
of Iowa Hancher Auditorium Oct. 24-29. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday
through Friday, Oct. 24-27; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28; and 1 p.m.
and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29.
The show includes all the Alan Menken/Howard Ashman songs from the Disney
animated film, plus an additional Menken/Ashman song written for the movie
but not used, and seven new Alan Menken songs with lyrics by Tim Rice. The
production also features the spectacular Tony Award-winning costumes by Ann
The production stars Danyelle Bossardet as Belle, Grant Norman as the Beast
and Edward Staudenmayer as Gaston. Bossardet has been in both the Los Angeles
company and Second National Tour of "Beauty and the Beast" and starred
as Florence in "Chess" and Sandy in "Grease." Norman has
starred in the title role of "The Phantom of the Opera" on Broadway,
in London and on the U.S. National Tour. Staudenmayers credits include
the National Company of "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and the off-Broadway
production of "Forbidden Broadway Cleans Up Its Act!"
Based on the classic fairy tale, "Beauty and the Beast" is the
story of a selfish prince condemned by a magical curse to life as an ugly
beast and the beautiful, strong-willed bookworm who becomes his salvation.
It is filled with the enchanted characters that charmed movie audiences, including
the candlestick Lumiere; Cogsworth, the fussbudget clock; and Mrs. Potts,
the kindly teapot -- all magically transformed on-stage -- as well as the
preening, superficial macho villain, Gaston.
When Disneys animated film of "Beauty and the Beast" premiered
in 1991, New York Times theater critic Frank Rich raved, "What is the
best Broadway musical comedy score of the year? Make no mistake about it,
it is Beauty and the Beast. I must say I was knocked out by this
one -- even though, as a theatergoer, I had to regret that Broadways
loss has been Hollywoods gain."
Rich had picked up on exactly what the creative team had intended. The Academy
Award-winning team of Menken and Ashman drew on their roots in musical theater
("Little Shop of Horrors") when writing the music for the film:
Menken points out that he and Ashman "structured Beauty and the
Beast as a stage musical. With each song, we endeavored to advance the
plot. Our characters sing their thoughts and feelings within the story. Its
entirely musical theater."
Disney Company chairman Michael Eisner became convinced that if there was
a way to overcome the challenges of translating animated magic, like the enchanted
objects and magical transformations, to the stage, musical-theater audiences
would also embrace "Beauty and the Beast." After all, "Beauty
and the Beast" was not a lightweight "kids" story, but
a complex and sophisticated tale about the deceptive power of appearances,
filled with wit and romance and concluding with redemption.
Disney had already been considering expanding into live theater for several
years. "People are social beings," says Eisner. "They want
to go out, which is why we at Disney are making more and more of a commitment
to live entertainment. Bringing Beauty and the Beast to Broadway
seemed like a perfect fit for us."
From the beginning of the shows development, the Disney creative team
recognized that simply staging a theatrical version of a film would have slighted
both media. They focused instead on combining the strengths of the beloved
story with the possibilities that only live theater can offer.
In addition to the set and costume designers typical in theatrical productions,
Disney brought in John Gaughan and Jim Steinmeyer, who had created illusions
for Siegfried & Roy and David Copperfield, to inject real special-effects
magic into the show.
The stage musical of "Beauty and the Beast" has become a long-running
hit of international scope. In April, "Beauty and the Beast" celebrated
six years on Broadway. The Hancher engagement is part of a 25-city North American
tour, and "Beauty and the Beast" productions are also currently
running in Germany and Spain.
McLeodUSA is the corporate sponsor of "Disneys Beauty and the
Beast" through the University of Iowa Foundation, with media support
from the Gazette.
Tickets for the Tuesday through Thursday performances are $55, $45 and $20.
UI students, senior citizens and audience members 17 and younger qualify for
a 20 percent discount.
All tickets to the Friday and Saturday performances and the Sunday matinee
are $60, $50 and $35. All tickets to the Sunday evening performance are $55,
$45 and $20.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance
is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged
to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases
to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option
of payroll deduction.
Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at <email@example.com>.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should
dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel
prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and
seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with
TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
For UI arts information, visit this new address -- www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
-- on the World Wide Web. The "Beauty and the Beast" World Wide
Web site can be found at <http://disney.go.com/disneyonbroadway/beautyus/index.htm>.
To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>.