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The Beast's Transformation

SilentWindODoom

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I couldn't find this anywhere. In the Beauty and the Beast stage show in MGM, how does the Beast do his grand transformation at the end. It's something I've always wondered. I notice it's usually done near or at the back of the stage (near the back curtain), but I'm not exactly sure if that's a part of it.
 

barnum42

New Member
From what I remember, two cast hold up a cloth so the beast can nip into the wings, the prince then comes on from the wings behind the cloth and that's it.
 

Tara Mae

New Member
Well, from watching it, this is opinion, but here's what I think:

Belle isn't really Belle. First off, you can tell it's a voice over, and not her live speaking. Second, the hand motions are too much. It's a stand in. Third, there's no way it could be the actress who plays Belle, as two seconds later, she's in a big ol' yellow dress. Hidden underneath the cloak? Think not. :)

Moving on, the beast, he crouches over, and there is a lot of movement meant to be the beast speaking and so on, Belle, or the stand in, keeps all eyes on her, as the person playing the beast, slips out of the costume. That's what the movement really is. Carefully, the actor that plays the Beast slips into the wings, as barnum says, quickly pulls his clothes straight, fixes his shiny hair, and slips back into the Beast costume. (The whole time as the Beast in this scene, he is also dressed as the Prince beneath) Bing, Bang, Bada-Boom, throw away the Beast, and you've got your prince. Yay!
 

mkt

Maleante Izquierdozo
Premium Member
I think you've put way too much thought into that, and coming from firsthand knowledge, Barnum is correct.
 

WDWKat26

New Member
Tara Mae said:
Well, from watching it, this is opinion, but here's what I think:

Belle isn't really Belle. First off, you can tell it's a voice over, and not her live speaking. Second, the hand motions are too much. It's a stand in. Third, there's no way it could be the actress who plays Belle, as two seconds later, she's in a big ol' yellow dress. Hidden underneath the cloak? Think not. :)

Moving on, the beast, he crouches over, and there is a lot of movement meant to be the beast speaking and so on, Belle, or the stand in, keeps all eyes on her, as the person playing the beast, slips out of the costume. That's what the movement really is. Carefully, the actor that plays the Beast slips into the wings, as barnum says, quickly pulls his clothes straight, fixes his shiny hair, and slips back into the Beast costume. (The whole time as the Beast in this scene, he is also dressed as the Prince beneath) Bing, Bang, Bada-Boom, throw away the Beast, and you've got your prince. Yay!

Uh, the guy who plays the Beast also doesn't play the Prince...I know this for sure.
 

disnyfan89

Well-Known Member
There is a point when the beast runs off stage and then back on. What is actually happening is the beast walks off stage and the prince wearing a cloak and beast gloves walks on! Since all you see is the giant purple cloak and his hands you don't think anything of it! when it comes time for the transformation the actor slips off the gloves and tucks them into the cloak. All that is needed now is for the actor to roll out of the cloak.

This is used in magic all the time. I know they changed the show recently and I have only seen it once so I don't know if its the same method!
 

Atta83

Well-Known Member
Umm its simple folks think about it. The people come on stage with the big sheet open at the time they enter the stage and leave the stage..The "real" prince is behind the sheet when they enter and the beast leave with the sheet when it goes off stage....at least thats what it looks like to me
 

Imagineer

New Member
Yes the MGM transformation is pretty simple, the sheet gives it away. However, the broadway transformation is quite complex. Does anyone know how the beast is transformed in the broadway play? I have seen it 5 times (between the tour and broadway) and can't figure it out. The fact that he is lifted in the air and spun around really is amazing, real Disney magic at work. The transformation is one of the best special effects on broadway and in my opinion hasn't been topped in all its 10yrs, next in line though is the stampede in Lion King (i know how that is done but is still amazing) and the first time Elphaba uses her powers in Wicked.
 

mikedlayer

New Member
Tara Mae said:
Belle isn't really Belle. First off, you can tell it's a voice over, and not her live speaking. Second, the hand motions are too much. It's a stand in. Third, there's no way it could be the actress who plays Belle, as two seconds later, she's in a big ol' yellow dress. Hidden underneath the cloak? Think not. :)

I have to disagree :animwink: I know a CM who plays Belle, they have 1 minute between getting off the stage and getting on - velcro seriously helps here lol. The Beast is certainly a different CM to the Prince, and I'm pretty sure the second Prince is different to the first, but Belle is the same as far as I'm aware. I'll have a talk to her see what I can get, course everything is hush hush lol.
 

Bill Smugs

New Member
Brodway transformation

When the show was running in Toronto in the program for it I think they mentioned some where that the transformation scene was choreographed by David Copperfield's crew and the actor playing the beast/ prince as well as a couple of crew members involved in the quick change all had to sign written secrecy agreements.
 

Connor002

Active Member
Imagineer said:
However, the broadway transformation is quite complex. Does anyone know how the beast is transformed in the broadway play? I have seen it 5 times (between the tour and broadway) and can't figure it out. The fact that he is lifted in the air and spun around really is amazing, real Disney magic at work. The transformation is one of the best special effects on broadway and in my opinion hasn't been topped in all its 10yrs, next in line though is the stampede in Lion King (i know how that is done but is still amazing) and the first time Elphaba uses her powers in Wicked.

All I have to say, is it's an amazing effect. Considering I'm going of memoires that are almost a year old though, I don't think I should even try to guess how they did that.
 

barnum42

New Member
I can't recall the details of the transformation in the West End version of the Broadway production, but I do recall thinking "What was all the fuss about, there was nothing special about that".

Then a few months later I heard an interview on radio with the bloke playing The Beast and he said they had two versions of the transformation. The regular one and a simple one that was used when the mechanics behind the main one broke down. I guess I got the simple one the night I went.
 

Fantasmic!329

Active Member
Imagineer said:
Yes the MGM transformation is pretty simple, the sheet gives it away. However, the broadway transformation is quite complex. Does anyone know how the beast is transformed in the broadway play? I have seen it 5 times (between the tour and broadway) and can't figure it out. The fact that he is lifted in the air and spun around really is amazing, real Disney magic at work. The transformation is one of the best special effects on broadway and in my opinion hasn't been topped in all its 10yrs, next in line though is the stampede in Lion King (i know how that is done but is still amazing) and the first time Elphaba uses her powers in Wicked.
Not sure about how it is done in BatB, but TLK isn't too tricky to figure out.
Are you discussing Elphaba making Nessa's wheelchair spin? If so, I think I know how they did it. If you look when Nessa is first introduced, there is nothing underneath her wheelchair, but in the next scence with her, there is a large black box. I think that this is some sort of wheel system. I dunno for sure, though. :veryconfu
 

nicholas

New Member
Imagineer said:
Yes the MGM transformation is pretty simple, the sheet gives it away. However, the broadway transformation is quite complex. Does anyone know how the beast is transformed in the broadway play? I have seen it 5 times (between the tour and broadway) and can't figure it out. The fact that he is lifted in the air and spun around really is amazing, real Disney magic at work. The transformation is one of the best special effects on broadway and in my opinion hasn't been topped in all its 10yrs, next in line though is the stampede in Lion King (i know how that is done but is still amazing) and the first time Elphaba uses her powers in Wicked.
I worked there for 18 months. I know how it's done ;)
 

barnum42

New Member
nicholas said:
Somewhat. Same basic idea, but not quite as elaborate and involved. It's kinda like Transformation Redux ;)
So what happens? When I saw it in London it was pretty much on a par with the MGM studios version. Nothing special.
 

nicholas

New Member
I hate to ruin the magic, but here goes.

SPOILER

























The entire fight scene between the Beast and Gaston is done using a Beast body double. The voice of the beast is all prerecorded during that part and the body double just pantomimes to it. Once Gaston has been killed, Belle and Beast go back into the castle through the balcony, and before it has time to turn all the way around, the body double makes his exit. So that way by the time it is fully visible to the audience, it is Belle and the REAL beast lying on the floor, covered in his cape to keep him warm. He is no longer wearing the beast costume under the cape. He is now wearing the prince costume and just a basic mask over his head. His back is attached to a horizontal pole that rises, brining him with it. And a mechanism on the end of it (where his back is) rotates and causes the spinning in all different directions. He has to hold his body completely rigid during all of this so he doesn't look like a dead fish flopping around in midair, and keep the cape completely covering him so that we think he is sill the beast. There are flashing lights and spot lights that are a kinda strobe effect to distract the audience and make it a little harder to focus on the actual performer. And for one brief moment the lights go out completely. During that time, he rips the mask off, disposes of it where it can't be scene, and as the lights come back on, the music swells, the spinning puts him completely upright, and he rips the cape off to reveal that he is now the prince. Then the bar lowers him and once his feet are touching the stage, he reaches around and unhooks himself from it and it continues to sink down until it is hidden within the set piece.

TA DA!

But I'm not gonna tell ya where they hide Chip's body :lookaroun
 

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