Complete casting has been announced for the U.K. and Ireland tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which launches August 25 prior to an official opening August 29 at the Bristol Hippodrome.
Staged by members of the original Broadway creative team, the cast will be headed by Courtney Stapleton (Six, Dear Evan Hansen) and Emmanuel Kojo (Girl From the North Country, The Scottsboro Boys) as, respectively, Belle and her Beast.
The two actors will be joined by Tony nominee Gavin Lee (SpongeBob SquarePants, Mary Poppins) as Lumiere, Tom Senior (The Pirates of Penzance) as Gaston, Sam Bailey (Blood Brothers) as Mrs. Potts, Nigel Richards (The Phantom of the Opera) as Cogsworth, Martin Ball (Les Misérables) as Maurice, Samantha Bingley (The Secret Garden) as the Wardrobe, Emma Caffrey (Curtains) as Babette, and Louis Stockil (Miss Saigon) as Le Fou.
The upcoming tour, which has been re-imagined with new designs, will feature a tap dance within "Be Our Guest" created for Lee. (Lee's tapping has become a signature of sorts, including upside down on the proscenium for Mary Poppins and with several tentacle legs for SpongeBob SquarePants).
Rounding out the company are Jake Bishop, Pamela Blair, Liam Buckland, Jasmine Davis, Autumn Draper, Daisy Edwards, Alyn Hawke, George Hinson, Jennifer Louise Jones, Brontë Lavine, Thomas-Lee Kidd, David McIntosh, Aimee Moore, Sam Murphy, Ashley-Jordon Packer, Emily Squibb, Grace Swaby, India Thornton, and Rhys West.
Olivier nominee Matt West will direct and choreograph the production, leading a team that includes composer Alan Menken, lyricist Tim Rice, book writer Linda Woolverton, scenic designer Stan Meyer, costume designer Ann Hould-Ward, and lighting designer Natasha Katz. The team received five Tony nominations and a win for Hould-Ward’s costume design, when Disney debuted Beauty and the Beast on Broadway 26 years ago.
West said, "I am so excited today to announce Courtney, Emmanuel, and the whole company who will bring our new production of Beauty to life later this year. We have a vibrant and exciting cast, and I look forward to working with them and our original creative team to reimagine the show for today.”
The tour will also have new dance arrangements by David Chase, with musical supervision and arrangements by Michael Kosarin, orchestrations by Danny Troob, sound design by John Shivers, video and projections design by Darryl Maloney, hair design by David H. Lawrence, illusions design by Jim Steinmeyer, and casting by Pippa Ailion Casting.