Strange as it seems, until 21 years ago, no one ever thought of adapting a Disney film musical to the Broadway stage.
"Beauty and the Beast" changed all that. The stage version of the Disney film hit Broadway in 1994. It was a massive success. It became one of the longest-running musicals in history, and it began Disney's domination of Broadway, with such shows as "The Lion King," "Tarzan," "Mary Poppins," "The Little Mermaid," "Newsies" and "Aladdin." ("Tarzan" was a flop by Disney standards, but it still ran for more than 400 performances.)
A non-Equity national tour of "Beauty and the Beast" is on its way to Sarasota. It will be at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Wednesday.
This same tour stopped at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa back in May. It was pared down from the original -- even a couple of the songs were cut out -- but it was a beautiful production with some great performances.
A week-and-a-half before the show was set to open, the Van Wezel website indicated that no more tickets were available. But it's worthwhile to keep checking. Often tickets are released closer to the shows date.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $35-$100. Information: 941-953-3368, vanwezel.org.
-- Marty Clear