Published on June 27th, 2024 | by Andrew Bistak


Almost three decades since its original Australian premiere in Melbourne, Disney’s new production of Beauty and the Beast will have its first performance at Her Majesty’s Theatre this evening, Thursday 27 June.

Fresh from its record-breaking Brisbane season where the show has become the highest selling season of any show at QPAC in a decade and the third highest selling of all time behind Phantom of the Opera (1996) and The Lion King (2014) – over half a million Australians in Sydney and Brisbane have already been our guest – and Melbourne is next!

The stellar Australian principal cast includes Shubshri Kandiah as Belle, Brendan Xavier as Beast, Melbourne locals Rohan Browne and Gareth Jacobs as Lumiere and Cogsworth, Jayde Westaby as Mrs. Potts, Jackson Head as Gaston, a role famously performed by Hugh Jackman in 1995 in his first professional role, Nick Cox as Le Fou, Rodney Dobson as Belle’s father, Maurice, and Melbourne’s Hayley Martin and Alana Tranter as Babette and Madame.

Facts & Figures

  • Produced by Disney Theatrical Group (Aladdin, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Frozen) this new production of Beauty and the Beast brings back members of the original creative team from the Broadway musical to reimagine this much-loved classic tale. Olivier Award nominee Matt West directs and choreographs, leading a team that includes original composer Alan Menken, lyricist Tim Rice, book writer Linda Woolverton, scenic designer Stan Meyer and lighting designer Natasha Katz.
  • The original Australian production opened at the Princess Theatre in 1995 starring Rachael Beck as Belle, Michael Cormick as the Beast, a young Hugh Jackman as Gaston, and the late Bert Newton as Cogsworth. The production played for over two years across Melbourne and Sydney and won the 1996 ARIA Award for Best Australian Soundtrack/Cast/Show Release.
  • 23 x 8 tonne trucks are required to transport the set to Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne, where it takes a team of 70 over 15,000 people hours to load in.
  • 30 tonnes of flying scenery and 50 tonnes of automation and staging recreate the French provincial town.
  • There are a total of 300 costumes and 119 wigs in the show. Each wig takes 14 people 40 hours per wig to hand-knot individual hairs: the equivalent of 191 days straight!
  • There are 12 sets of Beast horns, totalling 24 horns.
  • Belle’s yellow ball gown design was based on Elizabeth II’s coronation dress.
  • Lumiere’s flames are real, while Mrs. Potts has two spouts – one that smokes and one that doesn’t.
  • During the ‘Gaston’ production number, the cast clink their mugs over 800 times.
  • The show stopping production number ‘Be Our Guest’ includes a spectacular tap finale featuring Lumiere, Belle, and all of the enchanted objects of the castle, illuminated by over 2,400 different lights.

Tickets are on sale now for performances until 24th November 2024, with new performances on sale from

Thursday 4th July 2024, exclusively via



About the Author

When he's not trying to save the world, Andrew enjoys travel (although loathes turbulence), going to the movies, reading and being a dad to his two dogs (and now twins) with his wife.

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