ABC’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Will Make You See the Music in a ‘Whole Different Light’

H.E.R. as Belle in 'Beauty & the Beast: A 30th Celebration'
ABC/Christopher Willard

Let us pull up a chair. Disney fans are cordially invited to be ABC’s guest for Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration of the fairy tale as old as time. The 1991 classic — the first animated film to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture — is being feted with a two-hour special that, similar to 2019’s The Little Mermaid Live!, will combine scenes from the movie with live performances of songs in front of an audience.

Playing the bookish Belle and the cursed and lonely Beast are Grammy-winning R&B songstress Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson (stage name H.E.R.) and Broadway vet Josh Groban.

Martin Short and David Alan Grier in 'Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration'

(Credit: ABC/Christopher Willard)

“When you hear Gabby and Josh sing together, it is pure magic,” says exec producer Raj Kapoor, who notes that they worked with original composer Alan Menken to bring new elements to the score, including a H.E.R. guitar solo during “Belle (Reprise).” “You’ll see Belle in a whole different light,” Kapoor adds. “Gabby’s brought so much joy and made Belle even more relevant.”

That magic keeps flowing throughout the rest of the cast. Inside the castle, Martin Short shines as Lumière, the suave human turned candelabra. Is he using the French accent? Oui. “But he does Marty’s version of it,” Kapoor teases. “It’s so charming. It’s Martin Short meets Lumière.” We can’t wait to see what that means for the showstopping “Be Our Guest,” which Kapoor promises is “one of the most ambitious and spectacular dance numbers that’s ever been put together for a television special.”

Joining Short is David Alan Grier, who clocks in as enchanted majordomo Cogs-worth, and the duo might steal the show. “Their chemistry is out of control,” Kapoor says of the actors, working together for the first time. Meanwhile, country queen Shania Twain has a big saucer to fill in the late Angela Lansbury’s role of Mrs. Potts, the teapot housekeeper. “There’s a very special tribute [to Lansbury] when we do ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” Kapoor says. “It is so touching and beautiful.”

Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration, Thursday, December 15, 8/7c, ABC