That "tale as old as time," Beauty and the Beast, enters the record books on March 13 when it surpasses Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse's three-act comedy, Life with Father, to become the 10th longest running show in Broadway history. Currently the longest-running American musical on Broadway, Beauty will join a distinguished group of shows when it plays its 3,225th performance. Other musicals in the coveted top-10 category include Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats; Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's international hit Les Misérables; director/choreographer Michael Bennett's masterpiece, A Chorus Line; that tale of "Tradition," Fiddler on the Roof; another Andrew Lloyd Webber blockbuster, The Phantom of the Opera; Boublil and Schönberg's second worldwide success, Miss Saigon; and the original production of 42nd Street.
More than three million theatregoers have witnessed the Beast's transformation since Beauty opened on Broadway on April 18, 1994. An adaptation of the blockbuster film of the same name, Beauty premiered at the Palace Theatre but moved to its current home — the Lunt Fontanne — to make room for another Disney hit, Aida. The original cast of Beauty featured Susan Egan as Belle, Burke Moses as Gaston and Terrence Mann as the Beast. The current company includes Steve Blanchard as the Beast, Sarah Litzsinger as Belle, Chris Hoch as Gaston, Beth Fowler as Mrs. Potts, Jeff Brooks as Cogsworth and Bryan Batt as Lumiere.
Beauty and the Beast features the Academy Award winning score by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman as well as tunes written especially for the stage version by Menken and Evita lyricist Tim Rice. The book was written by the author of the original screenplay, Linda Woolverton, and the musical was directed by Robert Jess Roth. Beauty and the Beast plays at the Lunt-Fontanne (205 W. 46th Street), and tickets may be purchased at the theatre's box office or by calling (212) 307-4747.