Beauty and the Beast is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and a book by Linda Woolverton, based on the 1991 Disney film of the same name. Seven new songs were written for the stage musical. Beauty ran on Broadway for 5,464 performances between 1994 and 2007, becoming Broadway's eighth-longest running production in history.
The musical has grossed more than $1.4 billion worldwide and played in thirteen countries and 115 cities. It has also become a very popular choice for high school productions. According to an article in The Houston Chronicle, "The catalyst for Disney's braving the stage was an article by New York Times theater critic Frank Rich that praised Beauty and the Beast as 1991's best musical.... TUTS executive director Frank Young had been trying to get Disney interested in a stage version of Beauty about the same time Eisner and Katzenberg were mulling over Rich's column. But Young couldn't seem to get in touch with the right person in the Disney empire. Nothing happened till the Disney execs started to pursue the project from their end.... When they asked George Ives, the head of Actors Equity on the West Coast, which Los Angeles theater would be the best venue for launching a new musical, Ives said the best theater for that purpose would be TUTS. Not long after that, Disney's Don Frantz and Bettina Buckley contacted Young, and the partnership was under way." A stage condensation of the film, directed by Robert Jess Roth and choreographed by Matt West, both of whom moved on to the Broadway development, had already been presented at Disneyland at what was then called the Videopolis stage.