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MICHAEL EISNER ANNOUNCES MAJOR NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION PLANS FOR THE BROADWAY MUSICAL, DISNEY'S 'BEAUTY AND THE BEAST'

Cities Include: Los Angeles, Melbourne, Vienna, Cologne, Tokyo and Osaka; At Least Seven Additional Companies to Follow by the End of 1997

The Shubert Theatre is Announced for the Musical's Los Angeles Premiere;
 Performances Begin on Tuesday, March 21, 1995, with a
 Gala Performance Set for Thursday, April 13, 1995
 LOS ANGELES, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Disney's "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST," the spectacular Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, will open in cities throughout the world including Los Angeles beginning in 1995, it was announced today by Michael D. Eisner, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Co. Commenting on this announcement, Eisner said, "Disney's `BEAUTY AND THE BEAST' has been a major success on Broadway. We look forward to sharing the imagination, music and theatrical wizardry of this sensational Broadway show with audiences around the world."
 In addition to the Los Angeles opening at the Shubert Theatre, Disney's "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" is also set to premiere in five overseas cities: Melbourne, Australia (July, 1995); Vienna, Austria (September, 1995); Cologne, Germany (September, 1996); Tokyo (October, 1995) and Osaka, Japan (December, 1995). Eisner also announced plans to launch at least seven additional companies of the musical by the end of 1997 including a U.S. National Touring Production as well as productions in Toronto, London, Hong Kong, Mexico City and Buenos Aires. Disney's "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" will continue to play at the legendary Palace Theatre on Broadway.
 Audiences everywhere will enjoy the same full-length Broadway musical complete with spectacular production numbers, elaborate Tony Award-winning costumes and featuring the original Academy Award-winning music from the film plus five new unforgettable songs. Director Robert Jess Roth and choreographer Matt West, along with the creative team that brought the show to Broadway will recreate Disney's "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" worldwide.
 Los Angeles performances of the Broadway stage musical begin at the Shubert Theatre (2020 Avenue of the Stars, Century City) on Tuesday, March 21, 1995, with a gala performance for Thursday, April 13, 1995. The Los Angeles cast will include 1994 Tony Award nominees, Susan Egan (Belle), Terrence Mann (Beast) and Gary Beach (Lumiere) who will reprise their original Broadway roles. Egan, Mann and Beach received 1994 Tony Award nominations for Best Lead Actress, Lead Actor and Featured Actor, respectively. Beth Fowler will also reprise her role as "Mrs. Potts" in Los Angeles. Tickets for Disney's "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" go on sale at the Shubert Theatre box office on Sunday, Dec. 4, 1994, at noon.
 The five overseas productions of Disney's "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" announced today will be presented by Walt Disney Theatrical Productions in conjunction with Kevin Jacobsen and Michael Edgley (Australia), Theater of Vienna (Austria), Stella Musical Group (Germany), and Shiki Theatrical Company (Japan).
 Produced by Walt Disney Theatrical Productions, Disney's "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" features the Academy Award-winning score by Alan Menken (music) and the late Howard Ashman (lyrics), and additional songs by Ashman and Menken not heard in the film, plus brand new songs by Alan Menken and Tim Rice. The book is written by Linda Woolverton, who also wrote the screenplay for the animated film.
 Disney's "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" which was nominated for nine 1994 Tony Awards, had its world premiere at Theatre Under the Stars in Houston on Dec. 2, 1993, where it broke box office records. In New York, previews began on March 9, 1994, and the official opening night was on April 18, 1994. Disney's "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre where it continues to perform to sell-out audiences. The musical broke Broadway's all-time box office record with a one-day sales total of $1,296,722.
 With theatrical wizardry and imaginative design, Disney's "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" is transferred from screen to stage, enhancing the elements that made the animated film a world favorite. The Tony Award- winning costumes are by Ann Hould-Ward ("Sunday in the Park with George" and "Into the Woods") and lighting design by Natasha Katz (the revivals of "Gypsy" and "Peter Pan"). Director Robert Jess Roth, choreographer Matt West and scenic designer Stan Meyer have worked together as a team for the past three years developing projects for Disney. Jim Steinmeyer, creator of the illusions, has invented effects that have been performed by David Copperfield, Siegfried & Roy, Harry Blackstone and many others.
 "Disney's `BEAUTY AND THE BEAST,' the Broadway musical, uses a combination of the top theater, film and creative minds working in the entertainment industry today," said producer Robert W. McTyre. "The classic tale takes on an exciting new dimension that is only possible through the magic of theater."
 Disney's "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" is the story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial French town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an evil enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. Time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.
 Creative Biographies:
 Robert Jess Roth (director) is a New York-based stage director, who has spent the last three years developing projects for Disney. He has directed at Playwrights Horizons, The Hudson Guild Theatre and Manhattan Theatreworks/USA touring production of "The Secret Garden."
 Matt West (choreographer), created the role of Bobby in the film "A Chorus Line" directed by Sir Richard Attenborough. His Broadway and regional credits include "Hello, Dolly!," "A Chorus Line," "Peter Pan," as well as "Cinderella" for Disney Home Video, and "Mickey's Nutcracker" for the Disney Channel.
 Alan Menken (composer) has won two Academy Awards for "Beauty and the Beast" and two for "Aladdin." Other works include the musical adaptation of Roger Corman's classic film "Little Shop of Horrors" and Disney's "The Little Mermaid." Most recently, Menken was honored with five Grammy nominations including one for his collaboration with Tim Rice, "A Whole New World" from the Disney film, "Aladdin."
 Howard Ashman (lyricist) enjoyed a long association with Menken including "Aladdin," "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Little Shop of Horrors." He was the recipient of several Academy Awards for his work. Born on May 17, 1950, in Baltimore, Ashman died of complications due to AIDS on March 14, 1991, in New York City.
 Tim Rice (lyricist) wrote several new songs, with Menken, for the stage version of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast." He won a Golden Globe and a 1993 Grammy nomination for "A Whole New World," the love song from the Disney blockbuster "Aladdin." His theater work includes "Evita," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Chess" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," currently on tour.
 Linda Woolverton's (book) credits for Disney include the books for the films "Beauty and the Beast," "The Incredible Journey" and "Aladdin." She wrote episodes for televisions shows, such as "Teen Wolf," "The Berenstein Bears," and "Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers."
 Stan Meyer (scenic designer), a Disney veteran making his Broadway debut, has worked with director Robert Jess Roth for 10 years on projects including "In Trousers," "March of the Falsettos" and "Cloud Nine," as well as the highly acclaimed touring production of Theatreworks/USA's "The Secret Garden."
 Ann Hould-Ward (costume designer) won the 1994 Tony Award as well as the American Theatre Wing's Design Award for her costume designs in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast." She has, among her Broadway credits, "Sunday in the Park with George" (Tony nomination), "Into the Woods" (Tony nomination), "Falsettos," "St. Joan," "Three Men on a Horse," "In the Summer House" and "Timon of Athens."
 Natasha Katz (lighting designer) has Broadway credits that include the recent Tyne Daly revival of "Gypsy," Cathy Rigby's "Peter Pan," the musical "Shogun," "The Cemetery Club," "Breaking the Code," "Honky Tonk Nights," "Aren't We All" and "Pack of Lies."
 Robert W. McTyre (producer) was recently promoted to the position of senior vice president of Walt Disney Theatrical Productions. In this capacity he oversees production of theatrical properties in the United States and around the world for Walt Disney Theatrical Productions.
 Disney's "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST", the Broadway musical, will play the following schedule in Los Angeles: Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are scaled $25-$65.* Mail orders begin on Nov. 20. Beginning Sunday, Dec. 4, from 12 p.m. - 6 p.m. tickets may be purchased at the Shubert Theatre box office (2020 Avenue of the Stars, Century City) or by calling TeleCharge at 800-447-7400. For groups of 20 or more call 310-201-1555 or 800-432-7780.
 * Tickets for Los Angeles preview performances of Disney's "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST" are priced at $5 off the regular ticket prices above.
 -0- 11/15/94
 /CONTACT: Ron Hofmann of Rick Miramontez Co., 213-622-8602; Chris Boneau, Patty Onagan or Miguel Tuason of Boneau/Bryan-Brown, 212-575-3030; or Ernie Johnston of Walt Disney Theatrical Productions, 818-955-6837/


CO: Walt Disney Theatrical Productions Ltd. ST: California IN: ENT SU:

JB-LD -- LA037 -- 5804 11/15/94 16:39 EST
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