Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast doesn't just recreate the magic from the original but adds to it with new songs created just for the movie. It was a bit surprising to see Disney leave out several songs created for the Broadway version, but there were specific reasons in each instance why they opted to go a different route.
Blair Marnell recently had the chance to sit down with Beauty and the Beast composer Alan Menken (who's film currently sits at a 3.33 out of 5 on ComicBook.com's anticpation rankings), who also crafted the beloved film's original soundtrack. When asked why they decided to leave out the Broadway show's music he said "That was really a Bill Condon choice and I understand it. For a live-action film, there’s a really limited number of songs you want to put into a live-action given the length of time, the amount of dialogue, other kinds of scenes. And you knew that the tentpole moments, the original ones from the [animated] movie were going to be in the live-action movie. There were maybe two spots from the Broadway show that would have been nice to bring over, I think, or maybe three."
One of those was the musical number "Home", which did make it into the film in a way. "Well one, the song “Home.” But “Home” finds its way into the exact scene, musically. That was Bill’s choice. I think it says everything that it needs to say in the scene, and I don’t think we need the full song in there. “Human Again,” which was a beloved song we made for the original. It finally made it in for a re-release of the original animated [film] and then for the Broadway show. It was originally a nine minute number, so it’s a very extended number. It ended up coming in at six minutes when it was edited down. But still, truth be told, “Something There” really serves the purpose of that very sweetly and efficiently. And that was from the original as well."
Another song, "If I Can't Love Her", was dropped in favor of an original song for the Beast, one that didn't bend to the requirements of a broadway production. "And then the song from the Broadway show called “If I Can’t Love Her,” which ends Act one. [It’s] the Beast’s big stand and deliver number. And that was really necessitated by a Broadway musical being a two-act structure, and where you’re going to do the act break is right where that song fell. But really, a film is more of a three-act structure, and Bill felt that rather than the moment where the Beast out of anger, drives Belle away and says “How will I ever get anyone to love me? If I can’t love her, who could I ever love?” Instead, it’s the moment where he lets Belle go out of love, knowing that the spell will never be broken. But because he loves her, and because she sees that her father is in danger, and because he doesn’t want her to feel like a prisoner anymore, he lets her go."
Instead of attempting to cut it down until it barely resembled the original, the team opted to go an original route and leave that song be. "Exactly! That may be the most passionately desired song from the Broadway show, to bring over, what is sort of the cousin of that number. But rather than try to adapt that number for the later spot, which as Tim [RIce] said “would have been like writing ‘Don’t Cry For Me Brazil.’” Better off [leaving] that where it is in the Broadway show, but dealing this new moment as a new moment."
(Reporting done by Blair Marnell)
Beauty and the Beast is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within.
Beauty and the Beast stars Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belles eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts
Beauty and the Beast will be released in U.S. theaters on March 17, 2017.