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Disney India forays into musical theatre with ‘Beauty and the Beast’

MUMBAI: Disney India has announced plans to bring the timeless classic ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to the Indian stage for the first time.

Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, the musical love story will be presented to Indian audiences on the same scale as the mega productions seen on New York’s Broadway and on London’s West End.

Over 100 musical theatre performers in India will bring the story of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ alive on stage, with high production values, lavish sets and costumes.

After being played out live across 28 countries, the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ musical will be developed completely locally in India while retaining the original script and music of the Broadway show. The production will be in English for 130 minutes in duration, with select shows across Mumbai and Delhi from October to December 2015.

Disney India MD Siddharth Roy Kapur said, “At Disney India, we are always thinking of ways in which to bring our audiences truly memorable world-class entertainment experiences, and this pioneering effort to locally produce one of our most beloved Broadway musicals is another example of that ongoing effort. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a story that has resonated with millions of fans from around the world and we are sure it will do so in India as well.”

Originally produced on Broadway by Disney Theatrical Productions, it boasts music by Alan Menken (‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘Tangled’) and lyrics by the late Howard Ashman (‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Aladdin’), with additional songs and music by Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice (‘The Lion King’, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’). The book is written by Linda Woolverton (screenwriter of ‘The Lion King’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the upcoming ‘Maleficent’).

Disney India aims to bring on board the best local talent, who will work closely with the international artists to recreate the musical in India. Some eminent names involved in the Indian production will include Vikranth Pawar (Disney India live entertainment show director and creative head), Lesle Lewis (music director), Terence Lewis (choreography), Varsha Jain (set design), Gavin Miguel (costume), Pallavi Devika (hair & make-up), and Suzanne D’Mello (vocal training).

Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed into his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.