For the past couple decades, many of the most successful and most critically acclaimed Broadway musicals have come from Disney.
"Beauty and he Beast" was the show that started it all.
Before "Beauty and the Beast," the name "Disney" had never been attached to a stage musical. When the theatrical adaptation of the wonderful movie musical hit Broadway in 1994, it was such a massive hit Disney has followed it with about a dozen more stage musicals from "Lion King" to "Frozen."
Almost all have appealed to audiences and critics
Now "Beauty and the Beast" is returning to the Bradenton area. It will be at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota for two shows Monday and Tuesday.
Even if you don't know the stage musical, you probably know the film. The musical has some additional songs, including "Home," but it's the same story with the same characters as the movie version, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.
The stage version is especially impressive because it brings such animated characters as Lumiere, the candelabra, and Mrs. Potts, the teapot, to three-dimensional life.
Details: 7 p.m. March 17-18, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $55-80. Information: 941-953-3368, www.vanwezel.org.
-- Marty Clear