Little townIt's a quiet village,Ev'ry dayLike the one before
Okay. So it isn't a "Little town." It's the Big Apple. And it wasn't a day "... Like the one before." This was Sunday, July 29th. The night when Broadway's "Beauty and the Beast" finally ended its 13 year run.
Photo by Nancy Stadler
Inside the Lunt-Fontanne, it was kind of like Old Home Week. In that there were literally dozens of former "B & B" cast members in the audience that night. There were several former Belles -- Andrea McArdle & Christy Carlson Romano among them -- in attendance. Not to mention a handful of former Lumieres (i.e John Tartaglia & Jacob Young).
And among the folks who made a point of being there when the curtain came down was a certain former Disney CEO. Which was only appropriate. After all, if Michael Eisner hadn't greenlit development of a stage version of "Beauty & the Beast" back in 1993 ... Who knows if there'd even be a Disney Theatrical Productions today?
"So how was the last night of the show?," you ask. Well, it had its odd moments. Take -- for example -- when Mary Stout, the actress who plays Madame de La Grande Bouche (i.e. The opera singer who had been magically transformed into a wardrobe) suddenly began doing all of her character's dialogue as if she were Joanne Worley.
"And why would Ms. Stout do this?," you query. Well, because Ms. Worley (i.e. The "Laugh-In" veteran who originally voiced the Wardrobe in the animated version of "Beauty and the Beast") was in the audience at the Lunt-Fontanne this past Sunday night. And this was Mary's way of paying tribute to the woman who'd originally voiced this character back in 1990.
Stout's Worley tribute got a huge reaction from the audience. As did Donny Osmond's guest turn as Gaston. To add a little star power to "Beauty and the Beast" 's final performance, Osmond agreed to return to this Disney musical and reprise his witty performance as the show's villain.
Photo by Lyn Hughes
Mind you, Donny found himself the target of some good-natured ribbing that night. As Steve Blanchard explained during the show's curtain call, Osmond only got this gig " ... because Tito and Jermaine turned us down."
Given that Mr. Blanchard has been playing the Beast for over eight years, it only made sense that Steve would step forward and speak for the rest of the company. He first thanked the audience for coming that evening, as well as for showing their support for the show over the past 13 years.
Photo by Nancy Stadler
Blanchard then went on to pay tribute to various members of the "Beauty and the Beast" company. Starting with Bill Nabel, the Broadway veteran who has been with this Disney musical since its very first workshop was held back in 1993.
Steve then invited virtually the entire creative team for the show to come out on stage. There was director Robert Jess Roth, choreographer Matt West, book author Linda Woolverton, composer Alan Menken, costume designer Ann Hould-Ward, scenic designer Stanley A. Meyer, lighting designer Natasha Katz, musical supervisor David Friedman. Even the guy who handled all the hair and wigs in the show -- David H. Lawrence -- was asked to come out and take a bow.
Blanchard also made a point of paying tribute to the late Howard Ashman before screaming "Now let's party !"
With that, the cast and its invited guests hiked over to Cipriani's on 42nd Street. Where -- as curent & former cast members bellied up to the bar and then began reminiscing about their days in the show ...
... Steve and his last Belle, Annaliese van der Pol, posed for one last set of photos ...
... did one last round of interviews ...
... before they broke out the Cheez-Its ® (The Beast's Official Halftime Snack) and caught up with old friends like Ms. Romano.
Photo by Nancy Stadler
Meanwhile, back at the Lunt-Fontanne ... As one Disney Princess makes her exit, another one is waiting in the wings. Starting on Monday morning, all of "Beauty and the Beast" 's sets & costumes get taken down and packed away. And after that the Lunt-Fontanne gets a thorough cleaning and some much needed maintenance ... Once that work's complete it'll be time to start loading in all of the sets and costumes for Disney Theatrical's next production, "The Little Mermaid."
And that's show biz.
Special thanks to Lyn Hughes for providing the photo of Belle's final bow that was used on JHM's front page today
Anyone know why this show was never listed on ticketmaster? Was this a VIP event? A press only? It wasn't even listed as sold out, it just wasn't there.
Someone promised me that he'd take me to see it on Broadway.