Beauty and the Beast
By Eric Stedman
The original musical in two acts
This was the first musical version of Beauty and the Beast which features 5 leads and a chorus of faeries, who may be played by small children. No awkward giant candlesticks or silly talking teapots here, just a beautiful rose garden, the faeries who tend to it, their master, an animal with a human heart, and a beautiful young woman who struggles with the idea of leaving her father for the terrible yet compellingly sympathetic Beast's magic castle. Beauty's obnoxious though just as pretty sister Repella is somewhat jealous of the attention her sister receives from everyone and provides comedy relief as well as a surprising dramatic turn near the climax of the story as she and her father shed a few tears before they resolve their differences then decide to try and rescue Beauty who they think is being held captive against her will. Beauty and the Beast share also a few boldly dramatic and romantic scenes which are necessary to prevent Repella from stealing the show! The script explains how two magical on-stage Beast-to-Prince and vice versa transformations can be accomplished easily, as well as other simple and effective special effects. A wonderful script, produced many times all over the world, full of magic and affection and recommended for both child and adult groups.
Staged on two sets, a castle garden and cottage interior, which alternate, with a few short scenes taking place in a transitional forest.
The option to produce a 5-character touring version without the faery chorus also exists and is outlined in the script.
SCENES & SONGS
Click on highlighted links to hear MIDI files
A Misty Forest at Night
SCENE 1: Basilfort’s House
“Deep Inside”--Beauty and Basilfort
SCENE 2: The Forest at midnight
“Today’s the Day”--Basilfort and Pierre
“Faery Dance”--Faery Queen and Faeries
SCENE 3: The Beast’s Castle Garden, the following morning
SCENE 4: Basilfort’s House, two days later
“Somebody Get Me A Bucket”--Repella
SCENE 5: The Beast’s Castle Garden, the following evening
SCENE 6: Beauty’s dream / The Garden
“Where Is Beauty?”--Prince
“How the Roses Grow”--Faeries and Beauty
“Beauty and the Beast Dance”--Beauty, Beast and Faeries
SCENE 1: The Beast’s Castle Garden, one year later
“Songbird”--Beauty and Faeries
SCENE 2: Basilfort’s House, one year later
“A Long Time Ago”--Basilfort & Repella
SCENE 3: The Beast’s Castle Garden, the same day
SCENE 4: Basilfort’s House, later on that day
“Terwillager’s Fusilliers”--Basilfort and Repella
SCENE 5: The Beast’s Castle Garden, that evening
“Rose’s Dance”--Rose, Rina, Faery Queen & Faeries
“Nightfall”--The Beast & Faeries
SCENE 6: Basilfort’s House, one month later
SCENE 7: The Beast’s Castle Garden, very late that night
“Deep Inside Finale”--Company
The Merchant’s House
A tiny cabin in the woods with simple wooden furniture OR a once-elegant house which has gone into disrepair--he once was very rich but lost his fortune. Fortunately for tech. directors everywhere, it’s not specified whether he lost his house or not, so the house can be played either way. A trunk (L.) holds props and is also a place to sit. A rustic wooden table and chairs are R. and a wooden bowl full of apples sits on it. Fireplace C, with mantel. A clock is on the wall or mantel and three hooks are on the wall L. Behind the trunk, a window, If used, should be placed on the wall up R. (this is useful for Beauty to look out of and Pierre to look in).
The Beast’s Castle Garden
This is the rose garden and facade of the magic castle of the mysterious Beast, who has lived alone for hundreds of years with the faeries who tend to his flower gardens. White marble or stone arch with red curtains U.C., on platform with stairs and/or railing. Everything is covered vines and dozens of red roses. White, black, red and gold should be used almost exclusively for anything at the Beast’s castle, such as the magic mirror and birdcage (gold), the statue pedestal (white) and the curtains (red).
A painted drop, drop with forest gobo or scrim. If painted on a scrim that falls directly across the center of the performance space, lights on the faeries’ costumes may seen behind it, then the scrim can be raised during the Faery Dance to reveal the castle. A few branches may be used on either side of the stage during the forest scenes also--with white Christmas lights strung on them for use during the Faery Dance. A fog machine and/or dry ice can suggest snow, and to add atmosphere to the scenes in which the Faery Queen appears.
Beast/Prince (Baritone): The Prince is a handsome young man in a black and gold royal doublet and cape. He holds a black rose when he appears to Beauty in her dream. The Beast dresses the same way, in black hooded cape with red metallic rose-shaped pendant as a clasp, and black boots. His hair is long and blond-white, like a lion’s mane, his eyes deep and dark, his eyebrows blond and furry, and his teeth are long fangs (a light-colored head and hands are recommended as they can be seen better by the audience, especially in the many dark scenes). He walks upright and assumes the attitude of a perfect gentleman when addressing Beauty or the Faeries, but when he is angry, an “animal” surfaces. He has sharp claws at the ends of his hands, which are covered with blond fur. He speaks extremely slowly and in a rough and grating voice that resembles an animal growl. In fact, sometimes he does growl.
Beauty (Soprano): His daughter, sixteen, blonde and very gentle and kind (this is more important than her physical “Beauty”). She takes responsibility for much of the household work and, wearing an apron and a bandanna in the first scene and it stays so until she appears in the magic dress in the last scene of Act I.
Repella (Belt alto): Beauty’s presumptuous sister. She is not necessarily less pretty than Beauty (or overweight, for that matter) but it is her loud, selfish and obnoxious attitude that makes her seem that way. She never got adjusted to living without face powder and shoe trees. She wears too much makeup and overdresses. She's also always wearing her silly pointed headpiece and Is constantly either up to something that enhances her personal beauty or feeding her face.
Sir Benjamin Basilfort (Tenor or baritone): A comical old Merchant who used to trade by sea who lost his fortune because of an accident. He has white hair and a moustache and wears clothes that were once fashionable for Faeryland but have grown ragged and soiled with age. He was once a member of the king’s guard and is very proud of his “great plumed hat.”
Faery Queen (Soprano) The dark and magnificent queen of the forest, her costume resembles a giant black orchid. Crowned with a headdress of sticks or thorns, caped, carries a tall crooked wooden staff, and is not usually in a good mood. Slightly taller than the other Faeries.
Pierre: A tight-fisted, wealthy French cloth merchant after Beauty’s hand. Not necessarily old or unattractive, indeed he is probably best played as young and handsome and proud of it.
Rina (Soprano): A slim, red-haired, magical faery in the service of the Beast. She has pointed ears and eyebrows and decorates herself with orange and yellow flowers. She dances, rather than walks, across the stage, often choosing to sit rather than stand.
The Faeries (Mixed voices): The inhabitants of the Beast’s magic garden. They dress as imaginatively as possible in the colors of the flowers that are their namesake, green and brown leaves, and other things one might find in nature (no sequins!). Teased hair, pointed ears, and makeup to suggest vines or flowers on their bodies or leotards, are all recommended, as are chiffon wings instead of wire ones. Male actors may be dressed as elves or satyrs. When not walking they stay low to the ground, hide behind trees, and huddle in groups. They giggle and play, but respond to the Beast’s slightest gesture. The smallest faery actress plays Pea Pod--and the actress who plays Rose may participate in the other faery numbers by simply changing her garlands of roses to pink carnations or another flower when necessary. Special costume effects may be used to make them look small--for instance, Daisy might wear a giant one as a hat, with the yellow center on her head and the petals hanging down. Ideas for names: Buttercup, Jonquil, Daffodil, Cherry Blossom, Carnation, Cymbinium, Violet, Blue Bell, Pansy, Marigold, Morning Glory, Dahlia, Azalea, Hollyhock, Tulip, Clover, Orchid, Sunflower, Forget-me-not, Lilac, Lily, Daisy. Two larger male or female faeries play leather-armored Warriors in the opening sequence and one carries a whip, the other a sword.
Beauty and the Beast Reviews
Bristol Riverside Theatre
Saturday, my young boys and I leave the cartoons behind to see the stuff of flesh and life--a play. The theater with its warm, dark and high expanses, the lit stage at the end of the slope, is an embracing environment. There are no outside distractions and the actors reach out with a fullness and depth impossible to television. On stage is a production of Beauty and the Beast made wonderful substantially because director/writer Eric Stedman has observed the deep meaning of the fairy tale while making his phrases and characters turn with an eye towards humor.
The story strongly conveys man's struggle to be a good and caring human being--personified in the Beast's seeking to manifest his warm and gentle soul from within an animal form--and the truth that appearances are deceiving and to be pierced only by the discerning eye--cast in Beauty's struggle to realize the Prince in the Beast. The play brought across and fleshed out these ideas with satisfying fullness.
As Beauty, Diane Wallahan glowed with sweetness and virtuous caring. John Havens, as the Beast, while not as subtle, gave palpable for to the struggle of a higher self over animal inheritance. At the same time, Beauty's selfish and self-centered sister Repella, delightfully played by Patti Lee, was there as the wisecracking comic element. Donning helmet and grabbing crossbow to stalk stoopshouldered the Beast who holds her sister. Or always clamoring for chocolate pie and then telling her giving sister Beauty how selfish she is to have asked their father for one red rose. Another winsome point of access to the play was provided by Tracy Bell's elf who served to guide us through the fairy tale land.
My boys and the audience were transfixed as I suspect other groups of children (and adults) will be as the show tours this area.
-- David Gould, MAPP
Brisbane Arts Theatre, Queensland, Australia
The show has been a real hit with kids and adults. Audiences have been really appreciative and houses mostly full (despite the Olympics!). It is difficult for me to comment on because I've been so close to it, but the comments I've heard from people I respect have been great.
One lady I know who regularly takes a kindergarten group to see shows at our theatre, actually wrote a letter to say that this was the best children's play that they have ever seen. She says her littlest girl has insisted on being called "Pea Pod" all week!
The design aspects of the show have come together nicely. All the costumes look wonderful, very "fairytale." We were fortunate to be able to use the cyclorama which gave the whole look a great depth and ability to change moods with the colours at the back.
The Beast coming back to life always gets a gasp from at least part of the audience. Repella is the crowdpleaser and Pierre is also very well received.
We have two peach-face love birds for the bird from the Linden forest. They are also always a hit and join in at just the right times. they seem to like chirping back to Beauty after she has sung to them!
It has been a delight to work on the show, and the success is in no small part due to the structure of the story and the great music. Many people have been genuinely surprised that Chilren's theatre can be so engrossing. I guess that they are used to a more "pantomime" style or those patronising theatrical versions of children's stories. This one has just the right amount of excitement and wonder, laughter and tears.
-- Leo Bradley, Director, Brisbane Arts Theatre