Walt Disney World review: Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage (****)
The very first thing we did when we arrived at Walt Disney World was to visit Hollywood Studios, and Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage was our first taste of the park. We were not disappointed.

The stage show hits all the major beats of the film, streamlining and combining songs (specifically, Gaston's and Belle's introduction). In doing so it skips the most important part of the film, which is that Gaston isn't just a monster, he's a monster the town creates.

In the film, Belle's rejection of Gaston leads him to merely sulk. It's his sidekick Le Fou that drags him out of the dumps:

Gaston, you've got to pull yourself together. Gosh it disturbs me to see you, Gaston, looking so down in the dumps. Every guy here'd love to be you, Gaston, even when taking your lumps. There's no man in town as admired as you. You're ev'ryone's favorite guy. Ev'ryone's awed and inspired by you and it's not very hard to see why.

The villagers take up the chorus and soon turns into a mob. The mob song is part of the stage play, which is a bit jarring as we don't get eased into the eventual conflict between Gaston and the Beast. And yes, this version has Gaston talking about the Beast "making off with your children." It's noteworthy that there are some villagers on stage who patently refuse to go along, which spreads the culpability around in a way the movie didn't.

The special effects are great, particularly the various animated inanimate objects. "Be Our Guest" has the whole place dancing. As an adult male, it's also notable that there's quite a bit of showgirls in the play that certainly weren't part of the cartoon. That's a thing about Disney, there's something for everybody.

The conclusion happens quickly but that's to be expected for a show that's just 25 minutes. It's curious that we don't get to see the furniture servants restored, just the Beast, but maybe that's for the best -- who remembers their human forms anyway?

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