Martin Short, Jon Jon Briones, More Join ABC's Beauty and the Beast Special | Playbill

Film & TV News Martin Short, Jon Jon Briones, More Join ABC's Beauty and the Beast Special

In the Heights and Wicked film director Jon M. Chu will executive produce the animated-live action hybrid version of the Howard Ashman-Alan Menken musical.

Martin Short and Jon Jon Briones

ABC's upcoming animated-live action hybrid Beauty and the Beast special has added several new cast members, including Broadway favorites Martin Short (It's Only a Play) and Jon Jon Briones (Miss Saigon) as Lumiere and Maurice, respectively, according to The Hollywood Reporter

Set for a December 15 premiere on ABC that will stream on Disney+ from December 16, the event is expected to resemble 2019's The Little Mermaid Live, which paired scenes from the 1989 animated film with staged, live performances.

Also newly joining the cast are Shania Twain as Mrs. Potts, Rizwan Manji (Schitt's Creek) as LeFou, and Leo Abelo Perry as Chip. They join the previously announced Josh Groban as the titular Beast, R&B superstar H.E.R. as Belle, Broadway favorite Joshua Henry as Gaston, David Alan Grier as Cogsworth, and EGOT winner Rita Moreno as the narrator. 

Jon M. Chu, film director of In the Heights and Wicked, will executive produce the special, and Hamish Hamilton (The Little Mermaid Live, The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards) will direct.

With a screenplay by Linda Woolverton and a score by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, Beauty and the Beast released in 1991 and was famously described by New York Times theatre critic Frank Rich as "the best Broadway score" of the year, despite being a film. Based on the classic fairy tale, the work would make its way to the stage, Disney's first Broadway outing, in 1994, becoming a massive hit and running until 2007. The work has continued to be produced worldwide and received a live-action screen remake in 2017. No word yet if the upcoming TV version will include any of the new songs written for the musical's stage and live-action film adaptations, most of which feature lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Menken.

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