Disney announces full Australian Cast for Beauty and The Beast

Beauty-And-The-Beast-Rohan-Browne-Jayde-Westaby-Gareth-JacobsThe Walt Disney Company is thrilled to announce the full cast of Beauty and The Beast, including the roles of Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs Potts. This new production of Beauty and The Beast will have its Australian premiere at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre this June.

Rohan Browne will step into the role of Lumiere, Cogsworth will be played by Gareth Jacobs and Jayde Westaby will play Mrs Potts.

One of Australia’s most versatile performers, Rohan Browne has played Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz, Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain and Riff in West Side Story. He graced the silver screen in Dance Academy, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Hamish & Andy’s True Stories, and was an original artist in the ground-breaking motion picture, the Academy Award-winning Happy Feet.

Hailing from the UK, Jayde Westaby’s theatre credits include playing the roles of Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show (UK tour), Rizzo in Grease (West End), Ali in Mamma Mia! (International tour), the original London cast of Thoroughly Modern Millie (West End) and in a full circle moment Jayde played the Enchantress in the original cast of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast (UK tour). Jayde has recently completed playing Madame Giry in Opera Australia’s production of The Phantom of the Opera.

Best known for his star turn as the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, Melbourne’s Gareth Jacobs is currently performing in Disney’s Mary Poppins. The role of Babette will be played by Hayley Martin and Alana Tranter will play Madame.

Joining the ensemble is Tanika Anderson, Richard Astbury, Sarah Bourke, Cameron Boxall, William Brougham, Virginia Cashmere, Emily Corkeron, Phoebe Coupe, Amba Fewster, Anthony Garcia, Luke Haberecht, Jackson Head, Amy Hopwood, Brady Kitchingham, Chloe Malek, Ryan Ophel, Anthony Sheppard, Thalia Smith, Luke Ward and Grace Williams.

This exciting collection of Australian performers joins the previously announced cast of Shubshri Kandiah as Belle, Brendan Xavier as Beast, Andy Cook as Gaston, Nick Cox as Le Fou and Rodney Dobson as Maurice.

Based on the 1991 film – the first animated feature ever nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture – Beauty and The Beast opened on Broadway in April 1994 and garnered nine Tony® nominations and one win.

It played for more than 13 years on Broadway (before closing in 2007) and remains to this day one of the top 10 longest running shows in Broadway history.

The 2017 live-action retelling of the animated classic starring Emma Watson quickly became the highest grossing live action film musical of all time, a record beaten only by The Lion King live-action release in 2019.

The original Australian production of Beauty and The Beast opened in Melbourne at the Princess Theatre in 1995 starring Rachel Beck in the role of Belle, Michael Cormick as the Beast, a young Hugh Jackman as Gaston, and the late Bert Newton as Cogsworth.

The production played for over two years across Melbourne and Sydney and won the 1996 ARIA Award for Best Australian Soundtrack/Cast/Show Release.

The structure and tone of the story and score – as conceived for the 1991 film by its executive producer and lyricist Howard Ashman with a continued evolution for the Broadway adaptation three years later – made Disney history.

Composer Alan Menken and Ashman’s previous film musical The Little Mermaid was the only prior Disney film structured like a stage musical where the songs are integral to plot and characterisation rather than only ornamental or digressions.

This Menken/Ashman innovation is credited with the 1990’s Disney animation renaissance that went on to create such film classics as Aladdin, The Lion King and Hunchback of Notre Dame and helped re-introduce the book musical form to popular culture.

This new stage production of Beauty features lyrics by Tim Rice and a book by Linda Woolverton. The work retains the lush period sound of the Oscar-winning and Tony® award nominated score – which brought classics including Be Our Guest and Beauty and The Beast, as well as Change in Me, added to the musical production in 1998 and retained thereafter.

New dance arrangements by David Chase, have allowed original choreographer Matt West to re-visit his work, this time as director and choreographer. Longtime Menken collaborators Michael Kosarin and Danny Troob are musical supervisor/vocal arranger and orchestrator, respectively.

Completing the design team, Tony® award winner John Shivers is sound designer, Darryl Maloney is the video and projections designer, and David H. Lawrence is hair designer. Jim Steinmeyer is the illusions designer, as he was on the original 1994 production.

Beauty and The Beast will be produced in Australia by The Walt Disney Company and Disney Theatrical Productions, under the supervision of Thomas Schumacher.

The Australian premiere of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

Beauty and The Beast plays Sydney’s Capitol Theatre from Wednesday 14 June 2023. Tickets can be purchased here! For more information, visit: www.beautyandthebeastmusical.com.au for details.

Image: Rohan Browne, Jayde Westaby and Gareth Jacobs to star in Beauty and The Beast (supplied)