B’bye, Beauty

The Belle of the Disney ball is making a graceful exit.

This week, Disney announced that the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast would close after nearly 6,000 performance (it is the sixth-longest-running show in Broadway history).

Beauty is bowing out to make room for The Little Mermaid, which has its out-of-town tryout in Denver beginning July 26 and continuing through Sept. 9 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, part of the Denver Theatre Center. Tickets are not yet on sale but mark your calendars anyway.

Director Francesa Zambello returns to the Disney fray after helming the staged mini-musical version of Aladdin at Disneyland.

The book is by Pulitzer Prize-winner Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife, Grey Gardens); original movie score is by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman. Menken is collaborating with Glenn Slater on nine new songs for the stage musical.

The Little Mermaid is slated to begin previews on Broadway Nov. 3 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

Don’t cry for Beauty and the Beast, which closes July 29. According to San Mateo native Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical, Beauty and Beast has raked in $1.4 billion worldwide since opening in 1994.

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