On this day in 1994, previews began for Disney's newest Broadway stage show Beauty and the Beast at the Palace Theatre. A musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice, and a book by Linda Woolverton, it was based on the 1991 animated feature.
The idea for this live musical came from a popular 25-minute Broadway-style show that ran in Disneyland (starting in 1992) and a similar show at the Disney-MGM Studios (which first ran in 1991).
The show later officially opened on Broadway on April 18, 1994 with Susan Egan as Belle and Terrance Mann as the Beast. It ran at the Palace until September 5, 1999 when it was moved to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 11, 1999. By the time Beauty and the Beast played its final performance in July 2007 - it had run 5,510 times!
Click HERE for more March 09 Disney history.