Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration brought Disney fans behind-the-scenes of the creation of the Disney animated classic. H.E.R., Josh Groban, and a star-studded cast came together on the Disney Animation Studios lot to deliver a tribute production of the film’s musical numbers, paired with scenes from the animated film shown both in animated form and live-action recreations, on December 15 on ABC, telling the tale as old as time.
Jon M. Chu directed the special, with the radiant Rita Moreno as host and narrator, H.E.R. as Belle, Groban as Beast, Joshua Henry as Gaston, Martin Short as Lumière, David Alan Grier as Cogsworth, Shania Twain as Mrs. Potts, Jon Jon Briones as Maurice, Rizwan Manji as LeFou, and Leo Abelo Perry as Chip, in addition to a massive ensemble.
Chu’s vision for the special incorporated new dance numbers into the classic songs and splendid ideas for bringing the spellbound castle staff to life in high-energy production numbers like “Be Our Guest.” Anyone excited about the Wicked movies (which Chu will be directing) should see this special as an encouraging display of what Chu can do to make an old, beloved story feel both honored and new.
The special also paid tribute to the late Angela Lansbury, the original voice of Mrs. Potts, during a performance of the Oscar-winning “Beauty and the Beast” by Twain, accompanied by original composer Alan Menken on the piano. At the end of the song, which Lansbury sang in the 1991 film, an In Memoriam photo of Lansbury next to Mrs. Potts was displayed across the stage’s giant screen.
Here are some more highlights from ABC’s delightful Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration.
Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration, Next-Day Streaming, Disney+