School of the Arts

Disney's Beauty and the Beast

CSU, Chico’s School of the Arts presents the Spring Musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Performances take place Thursday–Saturday, May 2–5 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday–Sunday, May 5–6 at 2 p.m. in Laxson Auditorium. Purchase tickets at the University Box Office or by calling 530-898-6333.

CSU, Chico’s production will be directed by Matthew Teague Miller.

Based on the 1991 animated film, Beauty and the Beast marks the first of Disney’s Broadway stage adaptations. It is seen as Broadway’s first legitimate family show and has brought about a new generation of younger theatregoers.

The plot of the musical resembles that of the film. A cruel, vain prince denies an enchantress a place to stay because of her ugly appearance. She casts a curse, turning him into a beast and his servants into household objects. He has until the last petal falls on his rose to fall in love with a woman and have her return that love, or he will remain a beast forever. Changes include additional songs, with music by Allen Menken (who worked on the film) and lyrics by Tim Rice (film lyricist Howard Ashman had passed away). Linda Woolverton, who wrote the film’s storyline, also wrote the musical’s book. She expanded on the Beast’s characterization and storylines for the castle staff. She also has the servants gradually transform into inanimate objects rather than an immediate transformation, with death the result of a complete transformation.

The musical premiered in Houston, Texas, as a joint production of Theatre Under The Stars and Disney Theatrical on November 28, 1993, and ran until December 26 of that year. It was transferred to Broadway, opening April 18, 1994. It closed July 29, 2007, because The Little Mermaid was set to open. It became the 10th longest-running production in Broadway history.

The Broadway show was directed by Robert Jess Roth and choreographed by Matt West. Roth was chosen both because of his success directing shows at Disney theme park and because Disney CEO Michael Eisner wanted to maintain creative control. Ann Hould-Ward did costuming, and was allowed creative freedom. Her designs are a combination of the animators’ original designs and the Rococo art movement of the 18th century. Stanley Meyer’s set design is a literal interpretation of the film, as his instructions were “to make the animated film come to life.” Production costs estimated $12 million officially, although some people estimate the cost to be closer to $20 million, making it the most costly Broadway musical at the time.

Beauty and the Beast was nominated for nine Tony Awards, and won Best Costume Design. At the Houston opening, critics described it as one of the year’s finest musicals and noted its Broadway potential. However, The New York Times called the Broadway show “a great spectacle, but not great theater” because the elaborate set design and costuming “left little to the imagination.” Despite this, the musical famously resonated with the public and families, as children loved seeing their favorite movie performed onstage.

About the Director

Matthew Teague Miller

Matthew Teague Miller currently serves as producing artistic director of the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, a professional equity summer theatre in Clinton, Iowa.  His favorite productions include the Iowa Premieres of Disney’s Newsies and The Bridges of Madison County, as well as Les Miserables, Green Day’s American Idiot, Reefer Madness, Damn Yankees and Recent Tragic Events. Professional directing credits include work at Clinton Area Showboat Theatre, Lincoln Theatre Napa Valley, Timber Lake Playhouse, Triad Stage and others. As an actor, Miller spent three years touring the country with the original Broadway production of Les Miserables, where he worked under Tony Award-winning director Trevor Nunn and Tony Award-nominated director Jason Moore and performed alongside Colm Wilkinson in his final performance as Jean Valjean. Miller received his MFA in directing from University of North Carolina, Greensboro and his BFA in musical theatre from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Miller is a member of Actor's Equity Association and on the Executive Council of Musical Theatre Education Alliance International.