Beauty and the Beast heads back to Toronto

The world premiere of a musical about Broadway producer-director Hal Prince and a revival of Disney's Beauty and the Beast will be coming to Toronto in 2012.

2012 Dancap season includes world premiere of Prince of Broadway

Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast, starred Emily Behny and Dane Agostinis. (Joan Marcus/Dancap Productions) (Joan Marcus/Dancap Productions)

The world premiere of a musical about Broadway producer-director Hal Prince and a revival of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will be coming to Toronto in 2012.

Both are part of a slate of New York musicals announced by Dancap Productions on Monday.

Prince of Broadway, a new musical currently under development about Broadway director and producer Harold "Hal" Prince will premiere in Toronto before going on to New York.

Prince, who directed original productions of Cabaret, A Little Night Music, The Phantom of the Opera, She Loves Me, Follies and Evita, is to helm the show about himself, with co-direction and choreography by Susan Stroman. Now 83, he has won 21 Tony Awards in his career.

"Aubrey Dan and his gang suggested the musical and asked me whether I'd want to do it and I thought maybe now it's OK because I've been around a long time doing this for close to 60 yrs," Prince told CBC News at a press conference Monday.

"So it's not hubris; I think it maybe it's an opportunity to re-introduce, affectionately, so much great material from so many composers."

Prince says many of the musicals he's been involved with, including West Side Story, faced negative reaction from audiences, so he wants to challenge theatre-goers to open themselves to new ideas.

"Stroman and I want it not only be entertaining but also answer questions about what we want musical theatre to be, how it falls short and soars," he said.
Shrek the Musical is coming to Toronto and Montreal. (Dancap Productions)

Beauty and the Beast first played at the Princess of Wales theatre in Toronto in 1995. The 2012 Broadway touring production aims to woo a new generation of youngsters.

The production company, launched by Aubrey Dan in 2007, also has plans to extend its reach with a Western Canadian tour of Jersey Boys and a Montreal production of Shrek the Musical.

The 2012 subscriptions series in Toronto includes six productions:

  • Previously announced musical American Idiot, based on the music of Green Day.
  • In the Heights, a musical about the Washington Heights neighborhood that won a best musical Tony in 2008.
  • Shrek the Musical, based on the Dreamworks film.
  • West Side Story, a revival of the 1957 musical with score by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.
  • Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
  • Million Dollar Quartet, a Broadway musical about the recording session that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

Outside the subscription series, Dancap is bringing A Christmas Story, the Musical, based on the adventures of Ralphie Parker as he schemes his way towards the gift of his dreams, a Red Ryder Action Air Rifle BB Gun.

Beauty and the Beast will be staged at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, while A Christmas Story will be at the Sony Centre, both downtown venues. Other musicals are scheduled to play at the Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts, in North York.

Prince of Broadway, scheduled for summer of 2012, is yet to be attached to a theatre.