Disney and ABC will celebrate Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's Beauty and the Beast with a hybrid live-action and animated presentation of the work, airing December 15 on ABC and streaming December 16 on Disney+. In the Heights and Wicked film director Jon M. Chu will executive produce, with Hamish Hamilton (The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, The 64th Annual Grammy Awards) directing.
Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration, marking the 30th anniversary of the original film's landmark 1992 Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, is expected to resemble 2019's The Little Mermaid Live—also directed by Hamilton—which paired scenes from the 1989 animated film with staged, live performances. The Beauty and the Beast offering will include new musical performances performed in front of a live audience at Disney Studios, along with new sets and costumes inspired by the 1991 animated film.
Also executive producing along with Chu are Done and Dusted Productions, Walt Disney Television Alternative, Caitlin Foito, Raj Kapoor, Richard Kraft, and Katy Mullan.
With a screenplay by Linda Woolverton and a score by Ashman and Menken, Beauty and the Beast released in 1991 and was famously described by New York Times theatre critic Frank Rich as "the best Broadway score" of the year, despite being a film. Based on the classic fairy tale, the work would make its way to the stage, Disney's first Broadway outing, in 1994, becoming a massive hit and running until 2007. The work has continued to be produced worldwide and received a live-action screen remake in 2017. No word yet on if the upcoming television version will include any of the new songs written for the musical's stage and live-action film adaptations, most of which feature lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Menken.