The tale as old as time officially turns 30 in 2022. Beauty and the Beast is one of the most beloved Disney animated films. Because it’s such a highly regarded movie, the studio made two versions of it (there was also a Broadway play) and some straight-to-video sequels. Can there ever be too much of this story? Of course not. That’s why Beauty And The Beast: A 30th Anniversary Celebration is the best way to honor the film as it celebrates a momentous anniversary.
While it won't air live, this is the latest holiday musical special to air on a broadcast network. For a while, NBC made it an annual tradition to air live musical productions. Then Fox got involved, and ABC has been the latest to join the craze. The Little Mermaid Live! produced solid ratings in 2019, so it makes sense for the network to hope for the same success or better with Beauty And The Beast: A 30th Anniversary Celebration.
Before the special airs, here are some important things to know about it.
Beauty And The Beast: A 30th Anniversary Celebration Airs On December 15 On ABC
In July 2022, Disney and ABC announced plans for a 30th anniversary Beauty and the Beast celebration special. It will air on December 15 and be available to stream on Disney+ the following day. The special will be a 2-hour event that kicks off at 8:00 p.m. EST.
The announcement of this program also revealed that the special would be a hybrid production that includes animation and live action.
It’s now one of the highly anticipated TV events on the 2022 TV schedule.
H.E.R. And Josh Groban Star As Belle And The Beast
H.E.R. takes on the lead role as Belle for the celebration. This will be the singer's first major acting role. However, she has been a known name in the music business for a while. She's already an accomplished performer with five Grammy awards, and also earned her first Oscar at the 2021 Academy Awards. It was Best Original Song for “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah.
With that win, the artist is halfway to joining the EGOT list. She is also a producer on Beauty And The Beast: A 30th Celebration, so if the special wins any Emmys, she could be one award away from being an EGOT winner.
When speaking to Variety, the songwriter couldn’t help but be excited to take on such an iconic role:
Josh Groban will play the Beast, a role that could potentially be perfect for him. In 2017, he recorded “Evermore” for the live-action Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. Groban is a very accomplished musician, receiving many music award nominations, including several Grammy nominations and a few Billboard Music Awards.
He’s also no stranger to acting, appearing in shows such as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Office, and Crazy, Stupid, Love.
The Beauty And The Beast: A 30th Anniversary Celebration Cast Includes Rita Moreno And David Alan Grier
As of September 2022, the rest of the cast is still being finalized. However, a few of the additional cast members have already been revealed.
Hollywood legend Rita Moreno will have an all-new role as the narrator for the special. She’ll help guide the viewers through Belle and the Beast’s story. Joshua Henry takes on the role of Gaston. David Alan Grier joined the cast in September to take on the role of Cogsworth, according to Variety.
Variety also reports that Martin Short and Shania Twain are in talks to join Beauty And The Beast: A 30th Anniversary Celebration as Lumiere and Mrs. Potts. Hopefully, the deal goes through, because to me, it sounds like perfect casting
A Super Bowl Halftime Show Legend Directs The Special
Hamish Hamilton is directing the special celebration. This is the second ABC Disney special that he has helmed, as he was also behind the camera for The Little Mermaid Live! Most of his major work includes directing award shows and Super Bowl Halftime Shows, including Beyonce's 2013 halftime performance.
Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration also has a strong team of producers in Caitlin Foito, Raj Kapoor, Richard Kraft, Katy Mullan, Hamilton himself, the aforementioned H.E.R., and Jon M. Chu. This is one of the many exciting upcoming Jon M. Chu projects.
Jamal Sims will also be a producer on the special, as well as the choreographer. Julio Himede will be the set designer.
Belle’s Iconic Dress Will Be Recreated
The Variety announcement about Josh Groban, Joshua Henry, and Rita Moreno joining the special also gave more details about the production. Marina Toybina is the costume designer. She will “recreate Belle’s famous yellow gown” and make new outfits that take inspiration from the original film.
It’ll be interesting to see if Toybina directly transforms the animated dress into a real-life version or alters it some to make it unique to the special and H.E.R.’s style.
The Beauty And The Beast: A 30th Anniversary Celebration Will Be Filmed In Front Of A Live Audience
The event will be a hybrid special that combines live action and animation, and it will also be recorded in front of a live audience at Disney Studios, to air later.
As noted in the opening of this article, this means that the program won’t be broadcast live, but it has live components since there will be an audience there to watch it as it's filmed. Not airing it live would likely allow more ease, so that the animated parts can be added later, and it may also let the creatives have more time to edit the celebration in a way that shows the film, live performances, and any other necessary components, in a coherent way.
Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Anniversary Celebration airs on ABC on December 15. You can stream it on Disney+ the next day, and it may be one of the best things to watch on Disney+ that week.
Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.