Thursday night, ABC aired the latest in their Live Disney Concert series, Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Anniversary Celebration with the multi-faceted performer, H.E.R. as the lead role of Belle. The concert special reenacted scenes from the 1991 animated film, with scenes from the original Disney Renaissance classic interspersed throughout.
Directed by Hamish Hamilton with Jon M. Chu executive producing, Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Anniversary Celebration followed its ABC’s live Disney Concert predecessor, The Little Mermaid Live! (2019). The television special starred Josh Groban as the Beast, Joshua Henry as villainous Gaston, Martin Short as Lumière, Shania Twain as Mrs. Potts, and David Alan Grier as Cogsworth.
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Plus, Disney offered up fun facts and behind-the-scenes secrets from the historic production, a unique diversion from ABC’s previous live concerts in honor of Beauty and the Beast’s 30th anniversary. Of course, Groban wowed audiences with a rendition of the Broadway stage version of Beauty and the Beast’s “If I Can’t Love Her,” while Henry dominated as the manipulative hunter antagonist in the culminating “The Mob Song” group number.
What’s more, H.E.R. and Groban had great chemistry and brought their own unique spins on the lyrical melodies Disney fans will remember and love. All in all, the show seemed to be the perfect blend of Disney Renaissance nostalgia, familiar tunes from the classic film, and recognition for the lesser-known musical numbers which breathed new life into the timeless fairytale after three decades.
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However, the biggest surprise of the evening wasn’t one of the secrets revealed, but a surprising decision on the part of the singer, songwriter, actress, and musician to give that extra star power to Belle at the show’s close! In fact, as the number from the beloved ballroom scene begins, H.E.R. and Groban enter in Belle and the Beast’s iconic ballroom wear, before approaching the mics.
Ironically, Twain doesn’t feature in Mrs. Pott’s leading number, first performed by legendary Broadway star, Angela Lansbury. Instead, Belle and the Beast themselves perform the lovesong, while background dancers perform around them.
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Later, the supporting cast would join in the vocals for the performance’s climax, but not before H.E.R. surprised everyone by utterly shredding a custom electric guitar. You can watch the full showstopping reveal in the video below from ABC:
This love story is truly one of our favorites ❤️ #BeautyAndTheBeast30th pic.twitter.com/hmAniclOEj
— ABC (@ABCNetwork) December 16, 2022
Wearing hip shades in a matching yellow, audiences cheered as Belle ripped out the song’s notes on a clear electric guitar modeled after the animated film’s stained glass window prologue. Moreover, it obviously highlighted the Beast’s enchanted rose, making for a dazzlingly cool mashup that set a new precedent for both Disney Live Concerts and the Disney Princess Franchise.
We can only hope the Walt Disney Studios bring out something good like this for the upcoming 2023 The Little Mermaid, starring five-time Grammy award-winning singer, Halle Bailey. Fans can stream H.E.R. in Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Anniversary Celebration now with a valid Disney+ subscription.