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The Disney songbook – Beauty and the Beast (Piano arr. by Jim Brickman)
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Beauty and the Beast (1991 film)
Beauty and the Beast is a 1991 American animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 30th Disney animated feature film and the third released during the Disney Renaissance period, it is based on the 1756 French fairy tale of the same name by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (who was only credited in the French dub), and ideas from the 1946 French film of the same name directed by Jean Cocteau. Beauty and the Beast focuses on the relationship between the Beast (voice of Robby Benson), a prince who is magically transformed into a monster and his servants into household objects as punishment for his arrogance, and Belle (voice of Paige O’Hara), a young woman whom he imprisons in his castle. To break the curse, Beast must learn to love Belle and earn her love in return before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose or else the Beast will remain a monster forever. The film also features the voices of Richard White, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, and Angela Lansbury.
Walt Disney first attempted to adapt Beauty and the Beast into an animated film during the 1930s and 1950s, but was unsuccessful. Following the success of The Little Mermaid (1989), Walt Disney Pictures decided to adapt the fairy tale, which Richard Purdum originally conceived as a non-musical. Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg eventually dismissed Purdum’s idea and ordered that the film be a musical similar to The Little Mermaid instead. The film was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise in their directorial debut, with a screenplay by Linda Woolverton story first credited to Roger Allers. Lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken wrote the film’s songs. Ashman, who additionally served as the film’s executive producer, died of AIDS-related complications six months before the film’s release, and the film is thus dedicated to his memory.
Beauty and the Beast premiered as an unfinished film at the New York Film Festival on September 29, 1991, followed by its theatrical release as a completed film at the El Capitan Theatre on November 13. The film grossed $331 million at the box office worldwide on a $25 million budget and received widespread critical acclaim for its romantic narrative, animation (particularly the ballroom scene), characters and musical numbers. Beauty and the Beast won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, the first animated film to ever win that category.
It also became the first animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards, where it won the Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for its title song and received additional nominations for Best Original Song and Best Sound. In April 1994, Beauty and the Beast became Disney’s first animated film to be adapted into a Broadway musical.
An IMAX version of the film was released in 2002, and included “Human Again“, a new five-minute musical sequence that had been cut from the film prior to its release, but was included in the 1994 musical. That same year, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. After the success of the 3D re-release of The Lion King, the film was reissued in 3D in 2012. A live-action adaptation of the film directed by Bill Condon was released on March 17, 2017.
Alan Menken, composer
Alan Irwin Menken (born July 22, 1949) is an American composer, songwriter, music conductor, music director and record producer. Menken is best known for his scores and songs for films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. His scores and songs for The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), and Pocahontas (1995) have each won him two Academy Awards. He also composed the scores and songs for Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Newsies (1992), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Hercules (1997), Home on the Range (2004), Enchanted (2007), Tangled (2010), among others. His accolades include eight Academy Awards, a Tony Award, eleven Grammy Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, and a Daytime Emmy Award.
He is also known for his work in musical theater for Broadway and elsewhere. Some of these are based on his Disney films, but other stage hits include Little Shop of Horrors (1982), A Christmas Carol (1994), and Sister Act (2009).
Menken has collaborated with such lyricists as Lynn Ahrens, Howard Ashman, Jack Feldman, Tim Rice, Glenn Slater, Stephen Schwartz, and David Zippel. With eight Academy Award wins, Menken is the second most prolific Oscar winner in the music categories after Alfred Newman, who has 9 Oscars. He has also won 11 Grammy Awards, a Tony Award, and a Daytime Emmy Award among many other honors. Menken is one of sixteen people to have won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony.
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