When it closes, Beauty and the Beast will have played 46 previews and 5,464 regular performances. The musical opened at the Palace Theatre April 18, 1994, and transferred to the Lunt-Fontanne Nov. 11, 1999.
In a statement, Disney Theatrical producer Thomas Schumacher said, "For many theatergoers, Beauty and the Beast has been their first introduction to the magic of Broadway musicals. That's a wonderful legacy for all of us at Disney Theatrical Productions, and we're so proud of the show's record-breaking run on Broadway, throughout the country and around the world. Though the Broadway production is coming to a close, through our relationship with Music Theatre International (MTI), Beauty and the Beast will continue to live on in regional and high school productions around the world."
Composer Alan Menken added, "Beauty and the Beast has meant so much to me, both in remembering the joy of creating the animated film and seeing how audiences have embraced it on Broadway for all of these years. I have had the pleasure of watching so many diverse and talented performers sing these roles in the past 13 years. While it saddens me to say goodbye to Beauty and the Beast, I am excited to watch The Little Mermaid take shape as a Broadway musical, and to be a part of its exciting journey to the stage."
The Little Mermaid will play a pre-Broadway engagement at the Denver Center Attractions at Ellie Caulkins Opera House beginning July 26. The musical will arrive at the Lunt-Fontanne Nov. 3 with an official opening Dec. 6.
* Beauty and the Beast, the sixth longest-running show in Broadway history, is "the classic love story of Belle, a young woman in a small, provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a prince trapped in a spell placed on him by an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and to be loved, the spell will be broken and he will be transformed back to his former self. But time is running out, and if the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he will be doomed for all eternity."
Featuring a score by Alan Menken, Tim Rice and the late Howard Ashman, Beauty and the Beast boasts a book by the author of the original screenplay, Linda Woolverton; the musical was directed by Robert Jess Roth.
For more information visit Walt Disney Theatricals on-line at www.disneyonbroadway.com.