Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is now enchanting audiences at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre.
Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (Aladdin, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Frozen) this new production of Beauty and the Beast brings back members of the original creative team from the ground-breaking Broadway musical to reimagine this much-loved classic tale. Olivier Award nominee Matt West directs and choreographs, leading a team that includes original composer Alan Menken, lyricist Tim Rice, book writer Linda Woolverton, scenic designer Stan Meyer and lighting designer Natasha Katz.
Based on the 1991 animated film, the original production of Beauty and the Beast played for more than 13 years on Broadway, remaining to this day one of the top 10 longest running shows in Broadway history, and touring to 37 countries worldwide. Sydney audiences will rejoice in the spellbinding songs of Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice including Belle, Gaston, Human Again and Be Our Guest.
The stellar Australian principal cast includes Shubshri Kandiah as Belle, Brendan Xavier as Beast, Rohan Browne in the role of Lumiere, Andy Cook as Gaston, Gareth Jacobs as Cogsworth, Jayde Westaby as Mrs Potts, Nick Cox as Le Fou, Rodney Dobson as Belle’s father, Maurice, Hayley Martin as Babette and Alana Tranter as Madame.
This enchanting and timeless tale has been brought to life in a reimagined production boasting all the spectacle and grandeur audiences know and love. The Australian production features a total cast of 34, backstage crew of 77 including musicians, an incredible 300 costumes, and 80 tonnes of scenery and automation.
Twenty-three x 8 tonne trucks are required to transport the set to the Capitol Theatre in Sydney for the Australian premiere, where it takes a team of 70 over 15,000 people hours to load in. 30 tonnes of flying scenery and 50 tonnes of automation and staging have been unpacked and built to recreate the French provincial town, including the forest, tavern, Belle’s cottage and the Beast’s castle.
The beautiful and intricate costumes include many different elements such as embroidery, beading, hot stoning, hand printed fabrics, digitally printed fabrics, laser cutting and leather work. The original costume team sampled over 4000 fabrics and 2000 trims to get the exact right look for each character.
Belle’s blue dress embroidery was drawn by hand, then digitised and finally embroidered by machine to look ‘handmade’, while Belle’s yellow ball gown design was based on Elizabeth II’s coronation dress. Each petal on the dress has around 300 – 600 crystals, pearls and beads.
Lumiere’s flames are real, while Mrs Potts has two spouts – one that smokes and one that doesn’t. Audiences have to look closely to see Madame at first – her headdress is the same design as the decorative screen behind her.
There are 119 custom wigs in the show, each taking 14 people 40 hours per wig to hand-knot individual hairs: the equivalent of 191 days straight! There are 12 sets of Beast horns, totalling 24 horns in total. There are 60 magnets in the ‘Be Our Guest’ wigs, which help to secure their hats during the high intensity tap number. To transform him into character, Brendan Xavier and two understudies have each had a life-cast, body scan and hand-sculpted prosthetics created especially for them.
For the first time ever, the show stopping production number ‘Be Our Guest’ will include a new spectacular tap finale featuring Lumiere, Belle, and all of the enchanted objects of the castle, illuminated by 660 individual globes, 804 LED colour changing light bulbs, 112 LED light boxes, 766 metres of colour changing LED tape, and 84 high intensity strobe lights. The production features one of the first all LED lighting rigs on a musical this size.