‘Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration’ Honors Angela Lansbury & 7 More Must-See Moments

H.E.R. and Josh Groban in 'Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration' on ABC
ABC/Christopher Willard

Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration brought Disney fans behind-the-scenes of the creation of the Disney animated classic. H.E.R., Josh Groban, and a star-studded cast came together on the Disney Animation Studios lot to deliver a tribute production of the film’s musical numbers, paired with scenes from the animated film shown both in animated form and live-action recreations, on December 15 on ABC, telling the tale as old as time.

Jon M. Chu directed the special, with the radiant Rita Moreno as host and narrator, H.E.R. as Belle, Groban as Beast, Joshua Henry as Gaston, Martin Short as Lumière, David Alan Grier as Cogsworth, Shania Twain as Mrs. Potts, Jon Jon Briones as Maurice, Rizwan Manji as LeFou, and Leo Abelo Perry as Chip, in addition to a massive ensemble.

Josh Groban in 'Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration' on ABC

ABC/Christopher Willard

Chu’s vision for the special incorporated new dance numbers into the classic songs and splendid ideas for bringing the spellbound castle staff to life in high-energy production numbers like “Be Our Guest.” Anyone excited about the Wicked movies (which Chu will be directing) should see this special as an encouraging display of what Chu can do to make an old, beloved story feel both honored and new.

The special also paid tribute to the late Angela Lansbury, the original voice of Mrs. Potts, during a performance of the Oscar-winning “Beauty and the Beast” by Twain, accompanied by original composer Alan Menken on the piano. At the end of the song, which Lansbury sang in the 1991 film, an In Memoriam photo of Lansbury next to Mrs. Potts was displayed across the stage’s giant screen.

Here are some more highlights from ABC’s delightful Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration.

Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration, Next-Day Streaming, Disney+

H.E.R. and Paige O'Hara in 'Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration' on ABC
ABC/Christopher Willard

1. "Belle" Opening Number

H.E.R. began the opening number strolling through the “quiet village” that is the Disney Animated Studios lot. The original voice actors of Belle and Gaston, Paige O’Hara and Richard White, made cameos as the bookshop owner and baker. Menken also appeared playing the piano.

H.E.R. in 'Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration' on ABC
ABC/Christopher Willard

2. New Dance Numbers

Some of the special’s musical numbers included new dance interludes that expanded the story of the song and gave the stars further opportunity to show off their dancing skills. Pictured above is a gleeful dance added to “Belle (Reprise).” Our favorite was the contemporary dances created to represent the falling petals of the enchanted rose and the beast’s transformation.

Joshua Henry and Rizwan Manji in 'Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration' on ABC
ABC/Christopher Willard

3. "Gaston"

Well, Henry’s performance as Gaston in general. The Broadway star gave a great balance of quirk, ego, and eventually villainy as Gaston, although this 30th Celebration iteration was much less threatening than the animated character. No one delivers bombastic musical numbers like “Gaston.”

Martin Short and David Alan Grier in 'Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration' on ABC
ABC/Christopher Willard

4. "Be Our Guest"

A true thrill of the night, Short led the charge on the impressively assembled showstopper that was “Be Our Guest.” It’s a hit in the movie and in the stage production, and that was no different here. The number was recreated practically shot for shot, with intricate choreography, set, and costume design aiding in making the magical effects of the animated number come to life on stage.

Alan Menken and Shania Twain in 'Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration' on ABC
ABC/Christopher Willard

5. "Beauty and the Beast" Performed by Shania Twain and Alan Menken

The country crooner sang a beautiful rendition of the titular song with Menken at the piano behind her. The tribute to Lansbury came at the end.

Josh Groban in 'Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration' on ABC
ABC/Christopher Willard

6. "Evermore" Performed by Josh Groban

Groban was shrouded in a large metal puppet while in Beast mode, but he shed it to perform “Evermore,” created for the Beauty and the Beast live-action film in 2017. The singer recorded the song for the film’s soundtrack (performed in the movie by Dan Stevens). Watching him sing it in this special was a treat.

H.E.R. in 'Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration' on ABC
ABC/Christopher Willard

7. "Beauty and the Beast" Finale Performed by H.E.R. and Josh Groban

H.E.R. and Groban descended the grand staircase in the iconic yellow gown and blue tailcoat to close out the special with their own version of “Beauty and the Beast,” a nod to beloved covers from Céline Dion and Peabo Bryson and Ariana Grande and John Legend.

The highlight came when H.E.R. returned to the top of the staircase, this time wearing a yellow pantsuit and circular glasses (part of the singer’s signature style) and jammed out an epic solo on an electric guitar made to look like the transparent stained glass seen in the castle’s windows. A curtain of red rose petals cascaded from the ceiling as the special came to an end and the cast took their well-earned bows.