Beauty and The Beast - MLOC Stage Production

Beauty and The Beast - Prologue

Once upon a time … a spoiled selfish YOUNG PRINCE lived in a glorious castle. One night an old beggar woman asked for shelter from the bitter cold.

Repulsed by her the Prince turned the old woman away. Warned not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is to be found within, and the old woman's ugliness melted away to reveal a beautiful ENCHANTRESS.

As punishment, she transformed him into THE BEAST and placed a powerful spell on the castle and all who lived there. She gives him an enchanted rose, and if he could learn to love another and earn their love in return before the last petal fell, the spell would be broken.

Beauty and The Beast - Act I

In a quiet provincial town we meet BELLE, a young woman who lives with her father, the eccentric inventor MAURICE. Belle is admired by the villagers for her beauty, but also seen as odd and peculiar "... with a dreamy far off look, and her nose stuck in a book, what a puzzle to the rest of us is “BELLE”.

Enter the handsome egotistical GASTON who vows that he is going to marry Belle, the most beautiful girl in town. So confident is Gaston that Belle will accept, he sends his sidekick LE FOU to capture a deer for the wedding feast.

Meanwhile Maurice is confident his new invention will make his fortune. Sensitive to the comments she endures from the villagers, Belle asks him if he thinks she is odd. Her father assures her that she is not, and “NO MATTER WHAT” he is on her side.

Maurice sets off for the fair, hoping to win first prize, but he soon is lost in the woods. Chased by wolves he stumbles upon a castle and pounds on the door.

Inside he discovers the castle is populated with servants who have been affected by the spell. LUMIERE, a candlestick, COGSWORTH, a mantle clock, MRS POTTS, a teapot, and her son, CHIP, a cup, and BABETTE, a feather duster, all make Maurice feel welcome while attempting to keep his presence hidden from the Beast. But he is discovered and thrown into the dungeon.

Back in town, Gaston paints a vivid picture of Belle’s life married to “ME” but she turns him down flat, and Gaston leaves humiliated but now even more determined to have Belle for his wife.

Belle notices Le Fou is wearing her father's scarf and he confesses he picked it up in the woods near the crossroads. Belle goes to look for her missing father herself.

Belle comes upon the Beast's castle and lets herself in. As Lumiere and Cogsworth worry that they are losing more of their humanity each day, their hopes are ignited as they anticipate she might be the one to help their master break the spell.

Finding her father locked up, Belle begs the Beast to let her become the Beast's prisoner in exchange for her father's freedom. The Beast accepts her offer and makes her promise to stay there forever.

The Beast tells Belle the castle is now her home and she can go anywhere she likes, except the West Wing, then demands that Belle join him for dinner. Belle mourns the loss of her father and her freedom and her “HOME”. Mrs Potts and MADAME DE LA GRANDE BOUCHE, the wardrobe, try to cheer her up.

Meanwhile at the tavern, Gaston is pouting about Belle's rejection, and Le Fou, THE THREE SILLY GIRLS and the villagers remind him how admired is “GASTON”. Maurice arrives, frantic and begging for help to rescue Belle but no-one takes him seriously.

While the Beast anxiously awaits Belle at dinner, she stays in her room, angry and upset at her predicament. The Beast confronts Belle but she remains defiant. Distraught by her refusal to see him as anything but a monster the Beast reflects on his past mistakes asking “HOW LONG MUST THIS GO ON?”

Feeling hungry, a courageous Belle finds her way to the kitchen where Lumiere leads THE ENCHANTED OBJECTS invites her to “BE OUR GUEST” at a spectacular floor-show.

On a tour of the castle, Belle slips away to the West Wing, where she discovers the enchanted rose. Frightened at what might happen, the Beast bellows at her to stay away, and Belle runs out of the castle. The Beast realises what “IF I CAN'T LOVE HER” his own humanity is shrinking away.

Beauty and The Beast - Act II

Belle is attacked by the ferocious wolves and just as they surround her the Beast arrives and drives them away. Belle takes him back to the castle and tends to his wounds as Belle and the Beast begin to realise there is “SOMETHING THERE”.

The Beast decides that he wants to give Belle a token of his affection, leading her to his massive and neglected library. Belle suggests that they read "King Arthur" together but the Beast confesses that he cannot read so Belle reads aloud to him. The servants start raise their hopes that Belle will help their master finally break the spell and that soon they will be “HUMAN AGAIN”.

Meanwhile Gaston has summoned MONSIEUR D'ARQUE, who runs the local insane asylum. Gaston explains that everyone knows Maurice is a lunatic but of course, if Belle consents to marry Gaston, Maurice could be freed from the “MAISON DES LUNES”.

The Beast realises that he truly loves Belle, but is afraid to tell her. Lumiere and Cogsworth encourage him to invite her to a romantic dinner for the “BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”. Belle discovers in the magic mirror that Maurice is alone in the woods and in danger. The Beast tells her she must go to him and insists she take the mirror with her, so that she can always look back.

Belle finds her father and tells him what has happened in the castle to her and the Beast and that there has been “A CHANGE IN ME”. But Monsieur D'Arque is waiting to take Maurice away. Gaston offers to "clear up this little misunderstanding," if she will agree to marry him. Belle refuses and uses the mirror to prove that her father is not crazy by showing everyone that the Beast is real.

Gaston whips the townsfolk into a frenzy by convincing them the Beast is a threat who must be destroyed and leads “THE MOB SONG” as they attack.

The Enchanted Objects drive away the mob of villagers, but Gaston finds the heartbroken Beast and attacks him. On the verge of killing Gaston, the Beast's human side triumphs and he sets the cowering bully free and climbs toward Belle. Gaston attacks again, only to be thrown to his own death.

The Beast, dying from his wounds, tells the weeping Belle that he is happy that he at least got to see her one last time. Belle tells him that she loves him, just as the last petal of the enchanted rose falls. The spell has been broken!

All of the servants are now human again and the Prince and his Beauty … live happily ever after!

Beauty and The Beast - Background

Beauty and the Beast is an enchanting magical musical. How could it be otherwise? The story is timeless, touching all peoples and all cultures. It is the story about one man’s loss of humanity, and how he overcomes this through unconditional love. The message is as relevant today as it has been for generations past. And the music is eloquent, at times panoramic, at times intimate. No wonder Beauty and the Beast is loved by audiences all over the world.

It is also a challenge to bring out the deeply human tale that it is when the staging and costumes, special effects and illusions, and indeed the music, are so grand. The actors must shine against the opening spectacle of Belle, the drama of Home, the pain of If I Can’t Love Her, the fun of Me, and the glitz of Be Our Guest. And they must play it for real, within the caricature settings, or they cannot bond with the audience, connect with its heart.

It opened on Broadway only in 1994, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has already established its place in Broadway Musical history. 5,510 performances on Broadway, 13 countries, and 16 languages later, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’s lasting legacy may well the creation of Disney Theatrical which has brought us The Little Mermaid, Lion King, Mary Poppins and High School Musical.

The story is based on prolific Eighteenth Century French novelist Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont’s La Belle et la Bête, an abridged version of an earlier retelling of a fairy tale by Suzanne Barbot de Gallon de Villeneuve. In turn, the tale is said to be based on Cupid and Psyche, and the story elements can be found in ancient folktales from all over the world.

Before it became a Broadway Musical Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was first an animated film, and then a 25 minute live performance at Disneyland. Reputedly a New York Times article suggested the Disneyland show would win a Tony were it on Broadway and Jeffrey Katzenberg had the ammunition to convince the then head of Disney, Michael Eisner, to produce it. The two later fell out, Katzenberg having established Disney’s ties with Pixar went over to Spielberg’s DreamWorks.

The premiere was at Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars, in November 1993 and the Broadway premiere at the Palace Theatre in April 1994. The original cast included Susan Egan as Belle, Terrence Mann as The Beast, Burke Moses as Gaston, Gary Beach as Lumière, Tom Bosley (yep, from Happy Days) as Maurice, and Beth Fowler as Mrs Potts (who went on to play the role for seven years). When Toni Braxton took over the role of Belle in 1998 the song A Change in Me was added.

The original cast of the 1995 Australian production featured Rachel Beck as Belle and Michael Cormick as The Beast, Robyn Arthur as Mrs Potts, Bert Newton as Cogsworth, as well as Laura Hamilton, who choreographed MLOC’s The King and I, as a Silly Girl. It also featured the stage debut of Hugh Jackman as Gaston.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast never did win a clutch of Tony’s, despite nine nominations, missing out to James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s Passion. Only Ann Hould-Ward was to be successful, picking up the Tony for Best Costumes. It did pick up the Olivier for Best Musical on the West End in 1998.

The animated version was the first full length animated feature to be nominated for an Oscar as Best Film (losing out to Silence of the Lambs). It did win for Best Original Score and Best Song (Beauty and the Beast). The animation featured the voices of David Ogden Stiers (of M*A*S*H fame) as Cogsworth and the voice of the Narrator, Jerry Orbach who defined the role of Lumière, and Angela Lansbury as Mrs Potts.

The music was written by Alan Menken who’s stage credits include Little Shop of Horrors, A Christmas Carol and Der Glockner von Notre Dame (a musical in German about the Hunchback of Notre Dame), and film credits the Little Mermaid, Pocahontas – the album reaching No.1 and the single from Aladdin, Whole New World, also reaching No.1.

The lyrics are by Howard Ashman, who also wrote lyrics for Little Shop of Horrors, and Little Mermaid and Aladdin, and Tim Rice, who famously collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber on Superstar, Joseph, and Evita and Abba’s Benny and Bjorn for Chess, and Elton John for The Lion King and Aida. The book is by Linda Woolverton who also wrote the book for The Lion King.

There are, not surprisingly, several differences between the animated film and the musical. The instantaneous change from servants to objects of the film becomes a slow change – Cogsworth’s moustache becomes clock hands, Mrs Pott’s cap becomes a lid. This allows the story to be about people facing difficult choices and uncertain consequences. The roles of Madame de la Grande Bouche and Babette were expanded, but Chip lost a little.

The spell deadline changes from the Prince’s 21st so that there is no set age limit for the Beast, he is made to look more human, and the character is more threatening and sympathetic. Belle is more determined and headstrong, and only at the Beast’s castle for a few days instead of the several month of the film. Belle reads King Arthur to the Beast – in one version of the film she reads Romeo and Juliet.

There are also several differences to the original Beaumont story. Originally the servants are made invisible, and Belle dreams of the Beast appearing in his human form. Belle sisters are the original villains and they are left out. And there is no Gaston in the original!

Beauty and the Beast, through centuries, has always been genuine family entertainment for the young, and the young at heart, and it remains so today.

Song List

Act I

Overture — Orchestra
Prologue — Narrator
Belle — Belle, Gaston, Le Fou, the Silly Girls and Townspeople
No Matter What — Maurice and Belle
No Matter What (Reprise) — Maurice
Wolf Chase #1 — Orchestra
Me — Gaston and Belle
Belle (Reprise) — Belle
Home — Belle
Home (Tag) — Mrs. Potts
Gaston — Le Fou, Gaston, the Silly Girls and Tavern Patrons
Gaston (Reprise) — Gaston and Le Fou
How Long Must This Go On? — The Beast
Be Our Guest — Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth, Chip, Babette and Enchanted Objects
If I Can't Love Her — The Beast

Act II

Entr'acte — Orchestra
Wolf Chase #2 — Orchestra
Something There — Belle, The Beast, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth
Human Again — Lumiere, Wardrobe, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Babette, Chip and Enchanted Objects
Maison Des Lunes — Gaston, Le Fou and Monsieur D'Arque
Beauty and the Beast — Mrs. Potts
If I Can't Love Her (Reprise) — The Beast
A Change in Me — Belle
Show Me the Beast — Orchestra
The Mob Song — Gaston, Le Fou, Monsieur D'Arque and Townspeople
The Battle — Orchestra
Fight on the Tower — Orchestra
Home (Reprise) — Belle
Transformation/Finale — Belle, Prince, Company

Production Team

Producer: Graeme Marriott
Co-Directors: Roy & Jenni Mears
Musical Director: Danny Forward
Choreographer: Louisa Mitchell
Assistant to the Directors: Kat Sabel
Stage Manager: Martyn Bishop
Special Projects, Costumes, Props: Sally Fleming
Set/Construction: Garry Bertrand, John Hall, Ian Barker, Simon Fitzgerald
Costumes: Margot Sephton
Props: TBA
Lighting: Michael Richardson, Yaz Sesta
Sound: Sean Mears, Brenton Van Vliet
Masks: Gordon Watson
Audition Choreographer: Kate O’Meara

Cast List

Belle Deeon Clark
Beast Lee Threadgold
Gaston David Woods
Lumiere Peter Dennis
Cogsworth Gavin Dean
Mrs Potts Jeandanielle Evans
Chip Jacob Gousmett
Maurice Steve Coultas
Lefou Jeremy Smith
Babette Simone Griffiths
Madame de la Grande Bouche Felicity Eastwood
Monsieur D'Arque Scott Reid
Silly Girls Amy Anderson
Megan de Koning
Prudence Patullo
Featured Dancers Anna Ates
Alanna Davidson
Laura Golden
Ashlea Vanyai
Clare Zielinski
Leah Osburn
Ensemble Mary Bryant
Natalie Carden
Jenny Gardner
Nicole Green
Marian Hammond
Rachelle Harvey
Jessica Kaplonyi
Rachel Lenders
Margot Sephton
Diane Weisner-Dwyer
Martine Wengrow
Talaylin Zeppa
Daniele Buatti
Brett Clark
Dean Gordon
Daniel Payne
Colin Prossor
Luis Rivera
Colin Sephton
Thom Whilton
Michael Whelan

Orchestra

Keyboard I Jarrod Brereton
Keyboard II Bev Woodford
Violin Loretta Meagher
Cello Debbie McLeod
Bass Mark Hatwell
Reed I Sharon Loftus
Reed II Dafydd Camp
Reed III Glenn Taylor
Horn Matthew Coulson
Trumpet Dave Coughlin-Lane
Percussion Keith Morgan
Rehearsal Pianists Jarrod Brereton, Bev Woodford

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MLOC Productions is a Melbourne musical theatre company.
We provide stage based professional amateur musical theatre to Melbourne audiences from the Shirley Burke Theatre in Parkdale, Melbourne.
MLOC have been providing musical theatre-based entertainment to Melbourne audiences for over 60 years.
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