How ABC’s Beauty and the Beast: 30th Anniversary Celebration Changed Iconic Musical Numbers From The Movie

Spoilers ahead for Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration on A.B.C.

Beauty and the Beast stands as one of the most beloved and critically acclaimed films of the disney renaissance after debuting in 1991 and becoming the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. In honor of the 30th anniversary of the original film, ABC produced a special that combined live-action performances with animated sequences from the actual film, featuring Grammy and Academy Award winners. singer-songwriter HER playing Belle and Grammy/Tony/Emmy nominee Josh Groban as the Beast.

Almost all of the songs were from the original 1991 film (one being from the 2017 live-action remake), and fans of the animated classic could spot some changes ABC made to iconic musical numbers, like what the little mermaid live did in 2019. As a millennial who watched Beauty and the Beast many many times in the 90s he could basically speak the dialogue along with the 30th Anniversary Special Cast and I caught some big and small changes. Read on for a breakdown of what changed and what stayed true to the original story as old as time!

Stained glass window in the prologue of Beauty and the Beast

(Image credit: Disney)


The prologue that revealed the Beast’s backstory and established the love story was musically nearly identical to the 1991 film, but the presentation could hardly be more different. The lyrics were accompanied by live-action performers enacting what was said, complete with an ensemble of dancers, a pre-Beast version of the prince, and the old beggar-turned-beautiful sorceress. While the stained glass version worked well in animation, the choreography made the 30th anniversary special as much a musical as a movie. (Beauty and the Beast actually turned into a stage musical that has been on repeat since 1993).

(Image credit: ABC)


Visually, ABC’s “Belle” was never going to perfectly recreate a small French town on the Disney lot, but the lyrics remained mostly unchanged, with the one major exception being that the bookstore owner was played by a “madam ” instead of a “sir”. ”, with that “lady” actually portrayed by original voice actress Paige O’Hara. SHE made it clear that she could make Bella her own, and I was sold by Joshua Henry as Gaston from his first note in this song. Add in paper-eating sheep performed by adorable kids and composer Alan Menken playing the piano, and it was a fun number!

Belle Reprise in Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration

(Image credit: ABC)

“Belle (reprise)”

The reprise of “Belle” was the first musical number in the production with major departures from the 1991 film. While Belle went to a meadow to sing about her hopes and dreams as expected in the special, she was joined by other women and girls in similar costumes for a dance number. It was a change more suited to a musical than a movie or TV show, but I took it as a representation of how many people the character has impacted over 30+ years. Also, it ended with HER on ukulele, which was definitely new!

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Joshua Henry singing Gaston in Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration

(Image credit: ABC)


Now, I know that Gaston is pretty scary as a Disney villain who could exist in real life instead of a evil lion acting Villagebut get some Beauty and the BeastThe catchiest songs from , and the first had no lyrical changes from the movie. Joshua Henry was an ideal Gaston from the jump, and Rizwan Manji showed his version of LeFou on “Gaston.” Surprisingly, one of the most elaborate numbers in the film that doesn’t involve magical furniture translated perfectly to live action. Also, not every production can add a Broadway-worthy dance to a song and make it better, but the 30th anniversary special did it!

Gaston and LeFou in Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration

(Image credit: ABC)

“Gaston (reprise)”

Again, I know Gaston is the bad guy and concocts a pretty despicable scheme on “Gaston (Reprise)” with his plot to imprison Maurice so Belle will marry him, but this song is such a self-aware villain number. himself who is half evil and half funny. It’s bigger and cheesier in the ABC production than it was in the animated film, with a bit of slapstick that wasn’t originally there. It wasn’t nearly as funny as “Gaston,” but since the characters still don’t seem truly dangerous, Gaston and LeFou harmonize on “Nobody plots like Gaston, takes cheap shots like Gaston” never fails to make me laugh. .

Be our guest on Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration

(Image credit: ABC)

“Be our guest”

If you want an elaborate number involving magical furniture, look no further than “Be Our Guest,” featuring Martin Short as Lumiere the chandelier! To the 30th anniversary special’s credit, he didn’t just resort to using animation and skipped a live-action version of this entirely. Obviously, it had to be on a much smaller scale than the 1991 movie that didn’t have to worry about pesky things like gravity and inanimate objects, but between the costumes, choreography, and direction, it was a fun number. Again, this was perfectly suited to a stage musical, but it didn’t have as much of an impact as it does in animation.

Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Something Celebration There

(Image credit: ABC)

“something there”

“Something There” once again brought some adorable children to play with the animals, and that’s not the only change. The lyrics that were Beauty and the Beast’s internal monologues in the movie were sung out loud, and this was the song that really showed the mismatch of having an expressive opposite Belle played by HER vs. expressionless beast mask. Josh Groban’s face would peek out from under the Beast’s ribcage from time to time, and the singing was great, but this love song would have worked better to sell a romance if the Beast was truly anthropomorphic like the movie. However, the lyrics remained the same!

Alan Menken and Shania Twain in Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration

(Image credit: ABC)

“Beauty and the Beast”

Adapting “Beauty and the Beast” would surely be tricky, with Shania Twain replacing the late Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts to recreate an absolutely iconic scene from the Disney pantheon. After “Something There”, she was nervous to see SHE trying to dance with a partner who couldn’t show any emotion. Ultimately, I liked that the ABC special only showed the movie scene on a screen behind Shania Twain singing, with Alan Menken playing the piano next to her. The Angela Lansbury tribute at the end was a lovely touch, with the same lyrics. And I didn’t have to watch Josh Groban try to waltz in his Beast costume!

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The Mob Song in Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration

(Image credit: ABC)

“The Mob Song”

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