It’s a tale as old as time. Well, at least as old as 30 years, in the case of Disney’s animated classic Beauty And The Beast, which celebrated its pearl anniversary last year. Now, Disney is throwing a massive birthday party for the fan-favorite, much-adapted film in the form of a “two-hour animated and live-action blended special” featuring a truly impressive guest list of stars from both stage and screen.
Rita Moreno (an EGOT winner!) will narrate the special, which stars five-time Grammy and Academy Award winning recording artist H.E.R. as Belle opposite Josh Groban (who has also been nominated for an Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award) as The Beast. Tony and Grammy-nominated actor (are you starting to notice a pattern here?) Joshua Henry will play Gaston, with Rizwan Manji as his loyal sidekick LeFou. Rounding out the cast of human characters is Jon Jon Briones as Belle’s father, Maurice.
Perhaps the most talented set of table-ware ever assembled is made up of Emmy winner Martin Short as Lumière, Tony winner David Alan Grier as Cogsworth, five-time Grammy winner Shania Twain (!!!) as Mrs. Potts, and Leo Abelo Perry as her teacup son, Chip.
Hamish Hamilton, who has directed every Super Bowl halftime show since 2010, is set to direct the special, which promises to “take viewers on a magical adventure through the eyes of Belle” with Jon M. Chu as executive producer. (Maybe if this is successful, Chu will take the hint and re-combine his two planned Wicked movies back into one. A dream is a wish your heart makes!)
Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration airs December 15 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST) on ABC and will be available the next day on Disney+.