Disney Officially Bans ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Music, Removed From the Public

in Movies

Gaston pushes Belle against a door in 'Beauty and the Beast.'

Credit: Disney

Beauty and the Beast (1991) fans might have to work a little harder to hear its iconic songs after a voice actor revealed that Walt Disney Animation Studios banned the music publicly.

A tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast is considered part of the Disney Renaissance alongside The Little Mermaid (1989), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), and more. After a few rocky decades, Disney animators returned to their roots and created films based on classic fairytales, leading to one of their most successful commercial periods.

The story of unlikely Disney Princess Belle (Paige O’Hara) and her even more unlikely prince, Beast (Robby Benson), captivated audiences. Its score, written by Alan Menken, won an Academy Award for Best Original Score, while Howard Ashman and Menken’s “Beauty and the Beast” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Little girls saw themselves as the adventurous bookworm saved from a life with the boorish Gaston (Richard White).

Beast and Belle dancing in the promo image for Beauty and the Beast on Broadway
Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Company adapted the film to Broadway in less than three years, winning a Tony Award for costume design in 1994. The show ran successfully for 13 years, but a revival North American tour is set to kick off next year.

To much less success, Disney reimagined Beauty and the Beast into a 2017 live-action film starring Emma Watson, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, and Dan Stevens. The remake is regarded among fans as one of Disney’s worst, even though it attempted to mesh the animated movie with its theatrical counterpart. Fans slammed the music for its overproduced sound and even mocked the appearance of its merchandise.

Inside the Magic had the chance to reminisce about the film that started it all alongside star Richard White (Gaston) at C2E2 last weekend. The voice actor discussed his time as a Disney villain during a panel on Sunday, April 28, 2024.

A woman interviews Richard White on a panel stage at C2E2.
Credit: Jess Colopy, Inside the Magic

White attributed much of Beauty and the Beast’s success to the late Ashman, who he said gave actors and actresses permission to make a non-traditional Disney Princess film. He joked about initially mispronouncing Gaston’s name using a French accent and told a fan that, no, he never tried to eat five dozen eggs.

Decades later, Walt Disney Animation Studios still retains some control over White. When a fan asked him to sing a few lines from “Gaston,” he initially dodged the question. A few minutes later, White explained that he isn’t allowed to perform Beauty and the Beast music outside of an “official context,” especially not in a fan convention “setting.”

Gaston strokes his chin and stares at his reflection in the mirror
Credit: Disney

It’s unclear if O’Hara, Benson, or other Disney film stars are bound to the same restrictions. Fans can hear rare live performances of Disney music from its original singers during Disney Concerts at The Hollywood Bowl and other special events.

Should Walt Disney Studios permit voice talent to perform its music? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments.

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