A tale as old as time is coming to the Walnut Street Theatre this winter.
‘Beauty and the Beast’ will come alive onstage at the popular venue now through Dec. 31, and tickets are currently on sale for the classic production.
As the Walnut says, this show “is a timeless, enchanting story of love and hope and a delightful holiday season treat for the entire family.” It follows the classic story of Belle, who happens upon an enchanted castle with a prince living inside—though he’s bound by a spell that has transformed him into a beast. With some help from those who work in the house (all of whom are also under the spell), Belle is able to help them break the curse through true love—though many antics and musical moments happen in between.
As a release states, the 1991 film, directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, featured songs by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ went on to become the first animated film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Following the success of the film, the first staged production on Broadway went on to receive 9 Tony Award nominations, playing 5,461 performances before taking its final bow in 2007. Now it will play at the Walnut for Philadelphians to enjoy this holiday season.
The Walnut’s production will feature a company of 25 performers and a live orchestra performing some of the tunes the show has become known for, like ‘Be Our Guest’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Belle.’
The show at the theater is directed by Glen Casale, who is no stranger to Disney favorites, with productions of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella’ and Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ under his belt. Chris Burcheri returns as Music Director, having just completed ‘ELVIS – A Musical Revolution’ at the Walnut, and Kim Arnett serves as choreographer, making her WST Debut.
Hitting the stage as the title characters will be Daniel Wisniewski as the Beast and Julia Udine as Belle. As the release also notes, Wisniewski, a native of Northeast Philadelphia, did his acting apprenticeship at Walnut Street Theatre in 2018, while Udine was last seen on stage at the Walnut in ‘Shrek the Musical.’
Returning as Lumiere and Cogsworth, the Prince’s “charming French valet and his excitable English major-domo”, are Dana Orange and Fran Prisco, while the role of Ms. Potts will be taken on by Mary Martello, and Belle’s inventor father will be played by Bill Van Horn in this rendition (both of whom are Walnut Street Theater veterans.) Chris Stevens will be taking on the role of the boisterous Gaston.
Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ will be on stage at the theatre through Dec. 31, and includes holiday performances. Philadelphians should note, open captioning will be available for the Sunday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m. performance. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or visit the theater’s official site at WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.com. More information on the Walnut and upcoming performances can also be found online.