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Beauty and the Beast [Original London Cast Recording]
Alan Menken, Jane Alexander, Paul Bateman
Beauty and the Beast [Original London Cast Recording]
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #1


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This West End Cast Recording is a Real "Beauty!"
Grant Hugh Alexander | The Deep South, USA | 05/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As someone who is a huge fan of the original Disney film, the Broadway stage show, and even a Cogsworth in a local high school production, I have to say that the London Cast Recording of "Beauty" does outstrip the Original Broadway Cast Recording immensley. First of all, the Broadway recording is simply too cartoony, the cast trying to immitate their animated counterparts' voices down to the last syllable instead of trying to make the characters their own. Not to say that Susan Egan's Belle and Terrence Mann's Beast aren't wonderful, but in the recording they try to be a little TOO Disney - not so in the London Cast Recording. These aren't animated characters, these are living, breathing people, or, well, creatures. Julie Alanah-Brighten positively sparkles as Belle, making her Belle very intelligent, yet also slightly shy to share who she truly is with other people. You can't really compare her portrayal to that of the spunky Susan Egan - their Belles are too different, Susan being a belting '90s teenager in the 18th century and Julie being more of a classicaly trained village girl swept into her own fairytale, as she should be - personally, I prefer Julie to Susan, but you judge for yourself. Alasdair Harvey gives us a more inverted, melancholy Beast, his interpretation showing us more of an internal torture than Terrence Mann's rather loud, outward interpretation, although Terrence is wonderful in his own right. However, Harvey's Beast pulls at the heartstrings far more than Terrence. The rest of the cast is also top notch, with Burke Moses reprising his role as Gaston from the Broadway production.
In addition to the glittering cast, the orchestrations in this recording blow the Broadway recording out of the water. Where the orchestra on the Broadway Cast Recording sound almost like they were playing for a film that came off a Disney channel movie, the orchestra here swells with that definative professional stage production finesse, "Human Again," "Be Our Guest," and "If I Can't Love Her" nearly blowing you out of your seat.
It is also interesting to note that the Original Broadway production was harpooned by critics and won only one Tony Award, whereas the London production won several Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical and received fair reviews. Perhaps that is because the West Enders got something right that the Americans didn't, and that is giving these colorful characters heart, realism, and believeavbility without turning them into outright caracitures as they seem to come off as in the Broadway recording.
So, if you want a good record of Disney's first venture into live theatre, go with this recording! You will be pleased!"
I Agree, Better than the Broadway Cast Recording.
Grace | Alameda, US, Canada | 05/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I just want to say the performances are great in this London Cast Recording. As Belle, Julie-Alanah Brighten does a terrific job. Her vocals are beautiful; I especially like her rendition of "Home." I might get flamed for this, but I don't particularly enjoy Susan Egan's voice (although her "A Change in Me" is great), but that's not why I like Brighten's Belle. She just has a great voice, with good support and good interpretations of the songs. The rest of the cast is pitch-perfect as well. Burke Moses, who plays Gaston, sounds almost exactly like the Gaston in the movie. And I can't forget the orchestra, which has a great and full sound, with lots of energy. Just how I like it. The only thing is that there isn't "A Change in Me," because I really like that song!"
London Cast is SUPERIOR
pirateking24601 | TX | 12/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is true, the London West End Recording is far superior the the Broadway Cast Album. I bought this mainly as a collector's item and did not even consider that this would become my favorite recording. The entire cast does an awesome job, plus they all have British accents which is always fun. The Orchestra is huge and it sounds spectacular. The score is my favorite part of the whole show and this orchestra has a full and sweeping sound that blows you out of your seat. Some of the major differences are "Gaston" includes the complete dance break (with "cup clink" sounds), "Be Our Guest" also includes the entire dance sequence (clocking in at a solid 8 minutes), "If I Can't Love Her" is in a new, higher key (It now starts in D major and ends in G Major), "Maison des Lunes" is re-written with a third verse and alternate ending, and "Transformation" includes the "Aahs" as the Beast is transforming (unheard in other recordings!). But one of the BEST parts? No more Terrance Mann!

All in all, this was a fantastic find. If you love Beauty and the Beast, but you are looking for a little bit more, the London Cast Recording will not disappoint. BUY IT!"