Auckland’s Season of Beauty and the Beast

Published: Fri 3 Feb 2006 12:22 AM
Media Release
18 January 2006
Auckland’s Season of Beauty and the Beast
It’s still running on Broadway; and now it’s coming to 1.4 million Aucklanders. For the first time in New Zealand, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is in production in New Zealand and it’s coming to Auckland.
After opening in Wellington and the South Island, the lavish Auckland production of Beauty and the Beast will arrive in the City in September. Beauty and the Beast – which features breathtaking principal costumes by WETA Workshop and a cast of over 40 – will open for a season at the Bruce Mason Centre (Takapuna, Auckland) [9 to 23 September] for 15 performances only. A top local cast drawn from the best Auckland musical theatre talent will feature.
Auckland Director Grant Meese says: “This is a Tony-award winning show, the sixth longest running show on Broadway. It’s already been seen by 17 million people worldwide. It is Disney at its best – a family show with adult sophistication, Broadway glamour, and simply the wow factor. From its fabulous, Academy Award winning music, to the sumptuous set and costumes, this show has it all – special effects, lighting, gorgeous sets, magical tricks and even pyrotechnics. It has a warm hearted story line, great characters and is wonderful to look at. This was Disney’s first stage musical, drawn from the film. It has been a smash hit wherever it’s been.”
Australasian rights to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast were secured in 2004 by Wellington producers and passed onto musical theatre societies around the country, including North Shore Music Theatre. WETA provided key costumes, ensuring the show has a real kiwi flavour and a world-class look. Disney has collaborated with WETA for the filming of Narnia.
Auckland is as far North as the production will tour (Wellington being the only other city in the North Island where the show will open).
“Arguably, North Shore Music Theatre is the only musical theatre company in Auckland or the wider region that has the depth and experience to stage the show,” says Mr Meese. “North Shore Music Theatre is renowned for is professionally staged big musicals such as Les Miserables and My Fair Lady. All its shows have featured top quality local singers, dancers and actors. The Bruce Mason Theatre, which seats 1160 people is the Society’s natural home for productions of this scale.”
Beauty and the Beast follows the same story line as the beloved Disney film of the same name. It tells of Belle, a beauty living in a small town, and the Beast – really a prince who has fallen under the magical spell of an old witch. If the Beast can find someone who loves him for himself, despite his looks, and if he can love her back, the spell will be broken. This is an ancient fairy tale, with its roots in mythology and legend from many countries.
Dates: 9 to 23 September 2006
Place: Bruce Mason Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland
Ticket prices: $39 to $59 available now from Ticketek
Beauty and the Beast features music by Alan Menken (Film credits include Disney’s Pocahontas’ smash hit and number one single “A Whole New World”, Aladdin, the Hunchback of Notre Dame); Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.

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