Is it hard to sit though something when you have high expectations?
Beauty and the Beast Live or what is known as "Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration" is a hybrid tv special. Part live musical, part retrospective, part movie. All morphed into a tv spectacle
This is Disney’s second attempt at a live musical. Focusing more on the creation of the film and its legacy. This is in celebration of its 30th anniversary.
I may sound a little biased but they did try this in 2019 with the little mermaid. It received mixed reviews (myself included). So why would disney try this again? Simple They have something to promote and or celebrate.
Full disclosure Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie. With Belle being my favorite princess. Needless to say I went into this with a really high threshold.
So what deserves a standing ovation in this musical mashup?
The musical numbers. No one does it like Disney! They look spectacular. Using the Disney backlot and animation sketches as set pieces are a very nice touch. Also using modern choreography was nice to see.
The new orchestrations. They are lush and beautiful. And the electric guitar finale, Wow
The costumes. It’s gives a little theme park/Disney on ice vibe. Mixed with the European productions of the show and the 2017 film. However given the circumstances it’s done well.
Joshua Henry as Gaston. He steals every moment he’s in. He’s a perfect Gaston. Cocky and menacing without being annoying and cheesy. If those Broadway revival rumors are true, I’d say cast him.
Rita Moreno as the narrator. y’all it’s Rita Moreno, does she do anything wrong.
And what deserves to be shrouded in the west wing?
The special itself. Let’s start with some kudos to Disney. They learned from their mistakes from “The Little Mermaid”. But it still missed the mark. This is just a special, celebrating the film. As I said with the former, there’s a lot of talent wasted up there. It would have been better if we got the full musical.
Why are we lip syncing? This is an all star cast Disney put together. All of which have performed on stage in some form. Some on Broadway. Why make them do something they are very capable of doing live.
Martin Short and David Allen Grier as Lumiere and Cogsworth. I understand what they were trying to do and these are two comedic titans. However they seem miscast here. To their credit they aren't given much to do.
So what’s my opinion of Beauty and the Beast? I was entertained. The costumes, musical numbers and staging were fantastic. However given the format, the show feels rushed. I hope Disney tries one more time, this time producing a full show for television.
Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration is available for streaming on Hulu and Disney+