Of course, it’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since Disney’s Beauty and the Beast first debuted on the big screen. The iconic film about a tale as old as time, has become a classic that is still finding new fans to this day.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Beauty and the Beast, Disney held a special screening last week at New York’s fabled Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
A Very Special Performance
After the film, composer Alan Menken performed a medley of his iconic Disney hits on the piano. Menken played songs from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Enchanted, and Hercules. Then, actress Angela Lansbury joined him onstage to perform a live version of the Academy Award-winning theme song from Beauty and the Beast.
Lansbury voiced the teapot Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast and was responsible for singing the theme song on the original movie soundtrack.
Even at 90 years old, Lansbury nailed the performance and brought a cheering audience to their feet. She even ended the song with her next line from the movie, “Run along and get in the cupboard, Chip.”
Beauty and the Beast Cast Reunited
Lansbury co-starred in the film with Broadway stars Paige O’Hara as Belle and Robby Benson as the Beast. Actor Richard White was the villainous Gaston, while Law & Order mainstay Jerry Orbach voiced the candlestick Lumiere. M*A*S*H co-star David Ogden Stiers gave voice to Cogsworth, the clock.
O’Hara, Benson, White, and producer Don Hahn joined Lansbury onstage before the screening began. The group gave a special introduction to the film and participated in an audience Q&A.
A Legendary Performer
The CBS series Murder, She Wrote, ran for 12 seasons between 1984 and 1996. Dame Angela Lansbury is perhaps best known for starring in it. But Lansbury has had a long film career, starting all the way back to 1944. Over the years, she’s amassed three Academy Award nominations, won six Golden Globe awards, five Tony Awards, and a Grammy. In 2013, she was awarded an honorary Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Originally intended to be a rock ballad, the theme song from Beauty and the Beast was then changed to what is known today. Composers Howard Ashman and Alan Menken wisely decided to change it to a slow, romantic tune. Lansbury was reluctant to perform it since she didn’t think her voice was well-suited for the song’s melody. Ashman and Menken convinced her to perform at least one take, singing the song however she wanted. Well, that single take reduced everyone in the studio to tears. It went on to not only appear in the film, but to win the Academy Award for Best Song.
The Next Beauty and the Beast
Disney is currently prepping a new live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. Oscar-winning writer/director Bill Condon is behind the camera on the new version. Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos wrote the screenplay. Harry Potter star Emma Watson will play Belle, while Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens will portray the Beast. Luke Evans, Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Audra McDonald round out the cast. The new film will be in theaters on March 17, 2017.
The new 25th Anniversary Signature Edition Beauty and the Beast Blu-Ray is in stores now.