Broadway Creative Team of Beauty and the Beast Will Reunite for International Tour
By Michael Gioia
In celebration of Disney's Beauty and the Beast's 20th anniversary on stage, Disney Theatrical Productions, NETworks and Broadway Entertainment Group will present the first international tour of the title, which will open at Istanbul's Zorlu Center in October 2014.
The English-language tour — which will play diverse international markets including Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, marking the first time the musical will have been seen in these territories—will reunite the musical's original Broadway creative team.
"We are thrilled to be collaborating with NETWorks and Broadway Entertainment Group, to launch this first-ever international tour," said Ron Kollen, senior vice president, international, for Disney Theatrical Productions, in a statement. "To premiere Disney's Beauty and the Beast in these cities throughout the Middle East and Asia, is a perfect way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our beloved stage musical."
Beauty and the Beast is directed by Rob Roth and choreographed by Matt West, with Tony Award-winning costume design by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by Natasha Katz, scenic design by Stanley A. Meyer, sound design by John Petrafesa Jr. and music supervision by Michael Kosarin.
Auditions are currently underway in the U.S., and casting will be announced in the coming months.
Liz Koops, producer for Broadway Entertainment Group, added, "The world of touring entertainment is constantly evolving and we wanted to begin an international circuit to bring top quality entertainment into emerging markets. What better way to start than with one of the world's most beloved and successful musicals, Disney's Beauty and the Beast."
Based on the 1991 Academy Award-winning animated feature film of the same name, Disney's Beauty and the Beast premiered on Broadway in 1994, where it was nominated for nine Tony Awards and ran for 13 years.
Since its debut, the title's visibility and success has expanded globally with subsequent productions produced around the world. Since licensing of the title began in 2004, there have been productions in 22 countries, seen by more than 35 million people, translated into 8 different languages with over 28,000 performances — equivalent to a run of 67 years, generating over $1.7 billion in revenue.
In the U.S., Disney's Beauty and the Beast has been licensed to over 6,000 individual theatres including professional, community and school productions. It was the first Disney Theatrical Productions title in countries across Scandinavia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Russia, among others.
Currently, there are four productions of Disney's Beauty and the Beast playing around the world, including Paris and tours in North America, Japan and Germany.
Beauty and the Beast, according to Disney, "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 to 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."
The musical boasts music by Alan Menken and lyrics by the late Howard Ashman, with additional songs with music by Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice. The book is written by Linda Woolverton.
Tickets for the Istanbul premiere engagement (at Istanbul's Zorlu Center) go on sale May 1.
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