The stage adaptation of Disney's "tale as old as time," Beauty and the Beast, made its long-awaited London premiere May 13 at the Dominion Theatre.
Julie-Alanah Brighten and Alasdair Harvey co-star in the title roles. Burke Moses recreates his Broadway role as Gaston. Derek Griffiths plays Lumiere; Mary Millar is Mrs. Potts.
Estimated to cost $16.5 million (U.S.), the show is the most expensive ever mounted in London. That covers the cost of a 40-member cast, more than two dozen musicians, more than 200 costumes and a recreation of the show's trademark opulent sets.
The Oscar-nominated animated film version opened in 1991, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. The Broadway stage version opened in 1994, with several extra Menken & Rice songs, and was nominated for the Best Musical Tony Award. The Broadway production recently played its 1200th performance.
Productions have opened in Los Angeles, Toronto, Tokyo, Melbourne, Vienna, and, most recently, Mexico City on May 8. The entire award-winning production team, including director Robert Jess Roth, choreographer Matt West, costumer Ann Hould-Ward and set designer Stan Meyer have recreated their Broadway work in London, as they have for productions in Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo and elsewhere.
The production will cost a reported 10 million pounds ($16 million U.S.), and will have a 45-member cast.
"There will be no changes in the show that I'm aware of," Werther said. "I think the reason Rob [Roth] is doing it, is that they pretty much have a show they stand by."