David Alan Grier will help tell a tale as old as time on Disney and ABC's Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration special. The Tony Award-winning actor and In Living Color comedian will play Cogsworth, the clock butler, in the animated and live-action blended special re-imagination of the beloved 1992 Disney Animation musical. Grier is the latest performer to portray the character originally voiced by David Ogden Stiers; Heath Lamberts originated the role in Disney's Beauty and the Beast on Broadway, and Ian McKellen played Cogsworth in 2017's live-action remake. Variety first reported the news.
Grier joins a cast that includes Grammy and Academy Award winner H.E.R. as Belle, Billboard Music Award winner Josh Groban as the Beast, and Grammy and Tony Award nominee Joshua Henry as Gaston. EGOT winner and West Side Story star Rita Moreno will narrate the one-night special (airing December 15 on ABC and streaming December 16 on Disney+).
Crazy Rich Asians and In the Heights filmmaker Jon M. Chu, who has an overall deal with Disney Television Studios, is executive producing The Wonderful World of Disney and ABC special event presentation. Directing the special is Hamish Hamilton, who helmed ABC's Disney Family Singalong special and the Emmy-winning Super Bowl LVI halftime show headlined by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar.
"Beauty and the Beast was always a game-changing cinematic experience for me," Chu said when announcing the special. "When the animated movie came out, I watched it multiple times in the first weekend. It showed me the outer limits of what animated artists and storytellers could achieve, so the fact that I get to executive produce a tribute to all the creatives that made this masterpiece through our Electric Somewhere company is a dream I didn't even think was possible."
Chu added: "With world-class creatives and talent to reinterpret the classic musical numbers (with a few surprises), I can't wait for the audiences, in person and at home, to experience what we have in store for them. It's a true celebration of creativity."
Chu's Electric Somewhere and Hamilton's Done+Dusted are producing with Walt Disney Television Alternative. Along with Chu and Hamilton, executive producers include Caitlin Foito (TV's Serendipity), Raj Kapoor (The 2022 Oscars), Richard Kraft (The Little Mermaid Live!), and Katy Mullan (The Disney Holiday Singalong, Disney Channel Summer Singalong).
The Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration special airs Thursday, December 15 on ABC and is streaming the next day on Disney+.