Hold onto your wilted rose: Belle is getting a makeover.
True, it isn’t as if “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” needed a major overhaul — the touring show of the hit movie has been sublime — but, since the show’s original creative team were reunited anyway for the lavish musical’s 30th touring production, director Rob Roth thought: “Why not start over from scratch?”
The divine results are in full view, with the show onstage at the Golden Gate Theatre in The City through Aug. 29.
“We did all the things we, collectively as a team, wanted to put in the show after seeing it tour for so many years,” says Roth. “Everything from rewriting a little scene, cutting one song, changing some underscoring. We’ve kept the feel and color palette of the show, but we’ve all come back and recreated it again; we like it better.”
Matt West, the show’s choreographer, adds that the core team has “kept all the moments we love, and everything is lighter, and there’s more movement in scenery.”
There’s also one new song. It’s called “A Change in Me” and Belle sings it in Act 2.
It’s hard to imagine the undertaking the creative giants must have taken. The show, an international sensation that toured 21 countries, has now been seen by more than 35 million people. It was one of Broadway’s longest-running musicals, and harnessed the magic of six of the film’s original songs, plus six new songs and even one that was cut from the movie.
Bottom line: “Beauty and the Beast” is still an enchanted gem.
Much of that magic can be credited to the book by Linda Woolverton, and music and lyrics by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Beyond that, there’s the story, originally from an 18th-century fairy tale published in France that, as Roth puts it, has endured the test of time.
“The secret ingredient is the story,” he says. “Everybody can resonate to it. Everybody in life has felt like a beast at one time or another — the outsider, the person who didn’t fit in. It’s also about love and friendship and people can certainly relate to that.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St., San Francisco
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; plus 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22 and 2 p.m. Aug. 25; closes Aug. 29
Tickets: $30 to $99
Contact: (415) 512-7770; www.shnsf.com