As previously announced, Beauty will play its last performance at the Lunt-Fontanne July 29. The long-running musical will have played 46 previews and 5,464 regular performances.
In a previous statement Anneliese said, "It's a dream come true to play Belle. It's so exciting not only to be making my Broadway debut in this fabulous show, but to also have the honor of being the last person to play Belle on Broadway."
Disney Theatricals producer Thomas Schumacher added, "It's a real pleasure to welcome Anneliese to Broadway. She is a beloved Disney Channel star and is no stranger to the theatre. We are so glad that she’s making her Broadway debut and celebrating Beauty’s final months with us."
A native of the Netherlands who emigrated to the U.S. when she was three, Anneliese van der Pol has been seen onstage in Evita (Eva in the Buena Park Civic Theatre production), Oklahoma! (Laurey in the Austin Musical Theater production) and The Nutcracker (Clara in the Southern California Dance Theater production). Van der Pol has also recorded several songs for Disney, including "Over It" (for the film "Stuck in the Suburbs"), "Circle of Life" (for "The Lion King: Special Edition DVD"), "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" (for "Cinderella: Special Edition DVD"), "A Day in the Sun" (for "That's So Raven Too!") and "Candle on the Water" (for "Disneymania 4").
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.
Disney's The Little Mermaid is scheduled to begin previews at the Lunt-Fontanne Nov. 3 with an official opening Dec. 6.