Set sail for a timeless tale! As we announced back in February, a brand-new musical production of Beauty and the Beast is coming to Disney Cruise Line aboard the Disney Dream, following in the footsteps of Tangled and Frozen. For an exclusive sneak peek, I packed my bags, temporarily fled this provincial life, and embarked to the great wide somewhere … Canada. That’s right. Toronto, Canada (it really is grand, though).
While at the production and rehearsal space, I had the opportunity to meet the cast and crew and witness a few scene rehearsals. I even got to sing with Mrs. Potts and waltz with Belle (so technically I am Beast). The experience left me spellbound, to say the least, and we know you will be too! Here are five reasons why:
1. This is a new tale as old as time.
Despite borrowing from both the animated classic and its Broadway adaptation, the Disney Cruise Line musical will primarily take inspiration from the recently-released live-action film—a version not yet seen on stage. But even then, Creative Director Wendy Anderson notes that the production team has “done something completely different. We’ve taken that live-action film and pulled it into a theatrical vocabulary to make it new… again. It’s a really exciting mix of high, high technology and simple, simple theatricality and storytelling techniques.”
2. The song and dance numbers will leave you spellbound.
Specifically, “Be Our Guest”—which is conceptualized as a 7-course meal and becomes more elaborate with each passing (or flying) dish. The whole thing is a delicious extravaganza that will delight theatre fans and foodies alike. I’m already hungry for seconds … and thirds.
The other performances we saw included “Gaston,” a strong contender for the most dance-able, “Belle,” a big scale, small town showstopper, “Something There,” and “Days in the Sun”—both 100% chills-certified.
3. The costumes are going to enchant you.
Speaking of “Be Our Guest,” costume designer Sarah Cubbage teased a culinary, creative aesthetic for the performance: “Fun, over-the-top fashion meets high-end French food. I had to think about what is going to look so fabulous, that the adults in the audience are going to drool and the children are going to be wide-eyed and excited.” She even teased the likes of a “gorgeous escargot.” I’m waiting for the chic soufflé, myself.
4. The set design is unlike anything you’ve ever seen from a Disney Cruise Line musical!
“We want everyone, even in that last row, to have the same experience,” said Sara Wordsworth, the Broadway writer tasked with adapting the tale as old as time for this new experience. And in order to do so, the crew has erected “massive” LED walls that will line the stage and instantly transport audience members to the story’s iconic locales: Belle’s small town, the dark forest, and of course, the enchanted castle. Anderson described the effect as “highly technical meets traditionally theatrical.” Ultimately, fans will experience a “seamless blend of scene set pieces and gorgeous eye-popping visuals.”
5. The cast is the best.
As I previously mentioned, I not only had the privilege of meeting the cast, but also, of interacting and performing with them. In a moment that will forever define the rest of my life (and future career aspirations), I sang “Beauty and the Beast” with Mrs. Potts, learned the iconic ballroom scene dance with Belle (pictured with “Beast” above), and witnessed, firsthand, the incredible talent bringing actual magic to life. These actors have such a passion for both the story and the stage, that there’s no doubt—come November—you won’t fall in love with them and Beauty and the Beast (all over again).
Also, I don’t mean to brag, but Belle told me I was a triple threat. Broadway, here I come!