By Jay Darcy
Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme…
For the first time in almost two decades, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is embarking on a tour around the UK. Ahead of a summer residency at the London Palladium in the West End, the musical will play at Manchester’s own Palace Theatre for two whole months.
The musical premiered on Broadway almost two decades ago to mixed reviews from theatre critics, but it was a massive commercial success and well received by audiences. It ran for 5,461 performances for thirteen years (1994-2007), becoming Broadway’s tenth longest-running production in history. Worldwide, it has played in 13 countries, 115 cities, and grossed more than $1.7 billion.
The musical had its West End premiere in 1997 and did not tour the UK until 2001. I was born in 1999, and I’ve been waiting patiently for my chance to finally see it!
The current UK tour is a new, redesigned production – redesigned by members of the original creative team – even more lavish and luxurious than its predecessor.
Whilst the production has been redesigned, it features all of the spellbinding music and lyrics of Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.
Starring Courtney Stapleton (Six) as Belle, 2 x Tony and Olivier nominee Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins, Spongebob Squarepants) as Lumière, Sam Bailey (The X Factor) as Mrs. Potts, and Martin Ball (Top Hat) as Maurice, the musical’s cast is as impressive as its sumptuous stage design. Following the suspension of Emmanuel Kojo, the Beast will be played by Shaq Taylor.
Beauty and the Beast plays at Manchester’s Palace Theatre from 31st March until 4th June, before continuing its UK tour until January 2023.
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