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Thursday night’s 30th anniversary celebration of the animated classic “Beauty and the Beast” on ABC had a tall — and sometimes confusing — order: There was a live show, there was a dance performance and there was a retrospective. The plot of the film is strategically used to fill in gaps in the story from the original film. Is the network biting off more than it can chew? As a bygone era, you can say.

Luckily, the artists in the middle of the live performances and dance numbers brought the show to the stage in a colorful show that brought the magic of the castle’s worth to the stage in a more than adequate homage to the beloved 1991 film.

The live parts of the show – especially the artful dance parts, like the artists impersonating the petals falling from the magnificent rose flower, and popular musical numbers like “Be Our Guest” – could have easily stood alone, and if you did, you’re not alone.

Perhaps it was a testament to the cast — David Alan Grier as the appropriately salty Cogsworth, Martin Short as Lumière, Shania Twain as the feisty Mrs. Potts — that one could be left wanting more, especially given the hit-and-miss nature. The live shows that preceded it.

But most of the credit should go to her, Josh Groban and the legendary Joshua Henry in the roles of Belle, Beast and Gaston respectively.

The male leads took their time without surprising anyone. Groban is featured in a performance of “If I Can’t If I Don’t Love Her” from the film’s stage version, and Henry shows off his great vocal power in “Mob Song” in a way that makes you wish you were smarter. To leave him in the 2017 film.

But tradition in a At the end of the episode, the guitar strumming moment; This episode gave viewers the risk we needed to step out of the shadows of great animation and move Belle to 2022.

If this is what Disney is up to in future iterations of the princess, be our guest.




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