Beauty and the Beast, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and a book by Linda Woolverton, is Disney Theatrical's stage adaptation of the 1991 animated film of the same name. The film, in turn, was based on a traditional French fairy tale that tells the story of a prince who was transformed into a hideous beast... and the young woman with whom he fell in love. The movie was a smash hit, becoming an integral part of the so-called "Disney Renaissance," and became the first animated film ever to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.
Frank Rich, a theatre critic for The New York Times, wrote an article in 1991 that praised the film as the best musical of the year. This got the gears turning in several people's heads to think about bringing the story to the Great White Way. Among these thinkers were Frank Young, then the executive director of Theatre Under the Stars, and Disney executives, Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Luckily, they were able to come together under the same version for a premiere production in Houston.
For the creative team, Disney recruited the musical talent from the movie, including composer, Alan Menken, and orchestrator, Danny Troob. Unfortunately, Menken's writing partner and lyricist, Howard Ashman, had passed away, so Tim Rice was brought in, a lyricist with whom Menken had worked on the Disney film, Aladdin. The duo wrote seven new songs for the musical, including a song titled "Human Again" that was cut from the original film. The original Broadway production was directed by Robert Jess Roth and choreographed by Matt West; both had been brought over from a stage condensation of the film that they had already produced at Disneyland.
Disney's Beauty and the Beast premiered on November 28, 1993, in Houston, Texas.