These days, Disney is a well-established part of the fabric of Broadway. Aladdin and The Lion King are currently running, while Newsies is currently touring North America. We also have productions of Freaky Friday and Frozen to look forward in the years to come.
Over two decades ago, however, Disney was the new guy in town as it entered the Broadway game with its production of Beauty and the Beast. The animated movie on which the Broadway musical is based was a big hit in 1991, both artistically and financially. New York Times critic Frank Rich famously called out its lyricist and composer, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, for having written "The best Broadway musical score of 1991." Disney, with Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid which preceded it, had effectively reinvigorated the movie-musical artform. Combined with their long experience producing live entertainment for their theme parks, this made Disney set their sights on adapting some of their properties for the Broadway stage.
The original Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast opened at the Palace Theatre April 18, 1994. Reviews were mixed, but audience reaction was not. Beauty and the Beast was Broadway’s first real show for families, and they came in droves. It went on to run for 13 years and 5,461 performances, and the North American tour just closed last year. On Broadway, the family demographic created by Beauty and the Beast is still alive and well, with shows like Aladdin and School of Rock — The Musical. Click through below to check-in with the 1994 Broadway cast of Beauty and the Beast—from ensemble members and understudies all the way up to the title characters themselves—and see what they're up to today.
Kenny Raskin, Lefou
A gifted physical comedian, Kenny Raskin was a natural choice to originate the role of Lefou, Gaston's hilarious sidekick. Raskin went on to create a one-man show, The Audition, which he performed for over ten years all over the world. He then began a long association with Cirque du Soleil, appearing as the lead clown Everyman in Nouvelle Experience as well as their 3D IMAX film Journey of Man.
Raskin still performs today in addition to working as a performance coach to both actors and executives seeking assistance with public appearances.
Burke Moses, Gaston
Burke Moses made his Broadway debut as a replacement Sky Masterson in the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls before originating the role of the narcissistic villain Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination and won a 1994 Theatre World Award. He followed that performance with appearances in Broadway productions of Kiss Me, Kate (the 1999 revival) and Lincoln Center’s 2004 production of The Frogs by Stephen Sondheim, Burt Shevelove and Nathan Lane. He appeared in Goodspeed Musicals’ 2005 production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers as Adam, originated the role of El Gallo in the 2006 Off-Broadway The Fantasticks and played Captain von Trapp opposite Elicia MacKenzie (winner of the Canadian TV show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?) as Maria in a 2008 Toronto production of The Sound of Music. In 2012, he played Harold Hill to Kate Baldwin’s Marian in The Music Man at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and in 2014 he appeared in a Denver production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown as JJ Brown.
On TV, he’s appeared on several soap operas in addition to episodes of 30 Rock, White Collar and The Mysteries of Laura. Most recently, he appeared episodes of Elementary and Chicago P.D.
Heath Lamberts, Cogsworth
Heath Lamberts was a well-regarded character actor known to many major North American theatres. He made an early splash in a 1985 Shaw Festival production of Cyrano de Bergerac, for which he was awarded the Order of Canada. After appearing in Beauty and the Beast, he appeared on Broadway in the 1996 revival of Once Upon a Mattress as the mute King.
Lamberts spent the last decade of his life in Pittsburgh, PA, appearing in productions at Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Pittsburgh Playhouse and Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre. He passed away February 22, 2005 after a battle with cancer.
Beth Fowler, Mrs. Potts
Beth Fowler was a bonafide Broadway star when she appeared as the lovable British tea pot in the original company of Beauty and the Beast. Her resume already included Broadway productions of A Little Night Music, Peter Pan, and Sweeney Todd, in which her performance as Mrs. Lovett earned her Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations. After Beauty, she appeared as Sue in the 2001 Broadway revival of Bells Are Ringing, Marion in The Boy From Oz and Mrs. Brady in the 2007 revival of Inherit the Wind.
Fowler has also had a substantial career in film, appearing in 1991’s Sister Act and its sequel Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit as a choir nun, and, more recently, Netflix’s Orange is the New Black as Sister Jane Ingalls.
Tom Bosley, Maurice
When Tom Bosley originated the role of Belle’s father Maurice in Beauty and the Beast, he was perhaps best known to audiences as a TV father; he played Howard Cunningham on Happy Days, which ran from 1974 to 1984. He’d already had a prolific stage career as well, having won a 1960 Tony Award for his performance as Fiorello LaGuardia in Fiorello!
Following his appearance in Beauty, he played Cap’n Andy Hawkes in the 1995 national tour of Show Boat. He returned to Broadway in 2002 for a stint in the 1998 revival of Cabaret as Herr Schultz. Sadly, he passed away in 2010.
Gary Beach, Lumière
Before earning a 1994 Tony Award nomination for his performance as the debonair master-of-ceremonies-turned-candlestick Lumière, Gary Beach had appeared on Broadway in 1776, Something's Afoot, Annie (as a replacement Rooster), The Moony Shapiro Songbook and Doonesbury. His next big splash after Beauty... came with 2001’s The Producers, in which he won a Best Featured Actor Tony Award for his performance as the cross-dressing director Roger De Bris. He recreated his performance in the 2005 film adaptation and the 2012 Hollywood Bowl production as well. He was Albin in the 2004 Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles and appeared as Thérnardier when Les Misérables first returned to Broadway in 2006. He now lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida with his partner Jeffrey Barnett.
Susan Egan, Belle
Susan Egan made her Broadway debut as Disney’s first Broadway leading lady, Belle, earning 1994 Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for Best Actress in a Musical. She had previously appeared as Kim in a national tour of Bye Bye Birdie, opposite Tommy Tune, Ann Reinking, Marc Kudisch, and Steve Zahn. Following her Broadway run as Belle, she recreated her performance to open the 1995 Los Angeles production. She followed that up with an appearance at Sacramento Music Circus as Maria in The Sound of Music before returning to Broadway in 1996 in State Fair, replacing Andrea McArdle as Margy. Between 1999 and 2004, she played five stints as Sally Bowles in the second Broadway revival of Cabaret, appearing in California productions of The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Show Boat in the interim. Her last Broadway appearance was as the final Broadway Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Egan also got to make the jump from Disney stage actress to Disney movie voice artist in 1997 when she voiced the role of Megara in Hercules. This led to more voice over work, including Lady and the Tramp II: ScampÆs Adventure, and Cartoon Network’s series Steven Universe.
She currently lives with her husband and children in Orange County, CA. She performs concerts with orchestras across the United states and blogs on both SusanEgan.net and GlamourAndGoop.com, a "momblog" she collaborates on with composer Georgia Stitt.
Terrence Mann, Beast
Terrence Mann made his Broadway debut in 1980’s Barnum, appearing as Chester Lyman. Soon after Barnum, he created the role of Rum Tum Tugger in the original Broadway company of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. He played Saul in the short-lived Rags before creating the role of Javert in the original Broadway company of Les Misérables, a role for which he received a Tony nomination. After earning yet another Tony Award nomination for Beauty and the Beast, he went on to appear in The Scarlet Pimpernel as Chauvelin, The Rocky Horror Show as a replacement Frank 'N' Furter, The Addams Family as Mal Beineke and the recent revival of Pippin as King Charles, a role for which he received another Tony Award nomination. He played Captain James Hook/Charles Frohman in Broadway’s Finding Neverland and originated the role of the Man in the Yellow Suit in Tuck Everlasting, also on the Rialto. Mann has been working on Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s Broadway-bound Little Dancer.
Mann has been married to fellow actor and Cats costar Charlotte d'Amboise since 1996, and they have two daughters together, Josephine and Shelby. The acting couple will join Playbill on the Rhine River cruise this August.
Chuck Wagner, Beast standby
Chuck Wagner may be best known to theatre fans today as Rapunzel’s Prince in the original Broadway company of Into the Woods. He went on to originate the dual roles of Jekyll and Hyde in Frank Wildhorn's musical during the pre and post-Broadway tours. Standing by for the Beast on Broadway began a four-year stint with Beauty and the Beast, in which he went on to play the Beast full-time as a Broadway replacement and in Toronto as well. He was a replacement Javert in original Broadway Les Misérables and was standby for the male leading roles in 2004’s Dracula, the Musical. Wagner has also worked as a director, helming productions of Man of La Mancha and Jekyll & Hyde for the University of West Florida. An avid lover of musical theatre and historian of the genre, he also frequently gives master classes and performs in solo evenings.
Barbara Marineau, Ensemble and Mrs. Potts understudy
With a career on Broadway that began in 1975 and continues today, Barbara Marineau appeared in the original Broadway company of Beauty in the ensemble while understudying the roles of Madame de la Grande Bouche (the dresser) and Mrs. Potts. She later was promoted to a full-time replacement Mrs. Potts. After Beauty and the Beast, she appeared on Broadway in King David and The Women. Huber has also had a successful career working in regional theatre. She recently appeared in Seattle productions of Elf, Pippin and 1776, and played Maria in The Sound of Music in both Seattle and Los Angeles.
She was a vacation replacement for the role of Miss Shingle in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, playing the role from January to February 2015, and is currently in previews for Broadway’s War Paint.
Merwin Foard, Ensemble and Gaston understudy
Merwin Foard is one of Broadway’s most prolific Broadway understudies and standbys. After Beauty, he went on to appear in the original companies of 1776 (the 1997 revival), Kiss Me, Kate (the 1999 revival), Assassins, Sweeney Todd (the 2005 revival), The Little Mermaid, The Addams Family and Annie (the 2012 revival), to name just a few.
He's currently standing by for the roles of the Sultan and Jafar in Aladdin, a part of his continuing history with Disney on Broadway. He was also one of the subjects of Stephanie Rigg’s 2012 documentary The Standbys, a film about Broadway understudies and standbys.
Stacey Logan, Babette
Before playing Lumière’s love interest Babette the feather duster, Stacey Logan made her Broadway debut in Crazy for You, appearing in the ensemble while understudying the leading role of Polly Baker. Logan went on to portray Polly in the Paper Mill Playhouse’s production of Crazy For You, which was telecast nationwide on PBS stations. She appeared as Paquette in the 1997 Broadway revival of Candide and Marvin Hamlisch's last Broadway musical, 2002’s Sweet Smell of Success. More recently, she appeared in Oklahoma City productions of Next to Normal as Diana and August: Osage County as Barbara.