Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to return to Mumbai in May

March 10:Disney reveals that Beauty and the Beast, its debut Broadway musical in India, is set to return for a second season.

 Before Beauty and the Beast opened in Mumbai last September, everyone had two questions: will it really match the scale and spectacle of New York’s Broadway? And, can a fully Indian cast pull off something like that?

Valid questions, both. New York has a history of musicals going back over a hundred years. And actors aspire and train to be on a Broadway stage for years before making it.

Come opening night, it would not only answer those questions, but also give India a whole new genre. The sets were maginificent, as were the costumes and props. And the performances were so refined, you’d think the actors had been training for years (actually, they trained for a full year).

After a week of sold-out shows in Mumbai, 60 trucks worth of sets were hauled to Delhi. And Disney India’s first musical proved just as successful there.

And that’s prompted a return, as well as plans of expansion.

Siddharth Roy Kapur, MD, Disney India, reveals that Beauty and the Beast will return to Mumbai with a second season in May. And this time, it will be a longer run: 10 shows straddling two weekends. And given the kind of demand they saw in season one, they’ve decided to open ticket bookings as early as March 15. After May, it travels to Delhi again, in June.

Beauty and the Beast to go to other cities

But Disney’s got bigger plans. They want to take it to other cities as well. Roy Kapur says, “Season one showed us that the demand does exist. We’d like to take the show to Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai, cities where the audience is aware of Broadway. We’re figuring out the venues at present.”

But will a second run in Mumbai and Delhi see the kind of excitement it did the first time around? To use a movie release parallel, you can never measure up to the demand of the opening weekend. Roy Kapur is optimistic that the word of mouth generated with season one was strong enough to bring more people in. “Friends and family who didn’t see it then would want to see it now. And we’re expecting some people to want to see it again.”

Next production by 2017

But the bigger question is: what next? “By 2017, we plan to have our next show,” says Roy Kapur. And while Disney is yet to decide what that will be, it’s heartening to know that Beauty and the Beast wasn’t just a one-time experiment, but only the beginning.

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