Gayle & Barrowman Play Beauty & BeastDate: 22 March 1999
John Barrowman and Michelle Gayle join the cast next month of the West End production of Disney's Beauty & the Beast. From 26 April, the pair will be playing the grumpy Beast and his young love interest Belle at the Dominion Theatre. The cast change will also mark the introduction of a new song - 'A Change in Me' - to the production.
Barrowman has starred in a host of West End musicals including Sunset Boulevard (which he also appeared in on Broadway), Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, Hair and, most recently, The Fix at the Donmar Warehouse. On television, he has starred in CBS TV's Central Park West, shown worldwide, and in the UK has presented the BBC's Live and Kicking and Channel 5's 5's Company.
Gayle is best known in the UK for her five-year stint as 'Hattie' in television's EastEnders. She has also had a successful recording career with her single 'Sweetness' reaching Number 4 in the charts. Her new album is released later this year.
Gayle will introduce the new song to London audiences for the first time. It was written by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Tim Rice for singer Toni Braxton when she joined the Broadway production of Beauty & the Beast last year.
Barrowman and Gayle are joined in the cast by several other new faces including Gemma Craven (who recently appeared in the West End in the Chichester revival of Joe Orton's Loot) as 'Mrs Potts', Mark Caven as 'Luminere', Billy Boyle as 'Maurice', Alex Bourne as 'Gaston' and Shezwae Powell as 'Madame de la Grand Bouche'. Barry James remains as 'Cogsworth'.
Beauty & the Beast will mark its two-year anniversary in the West End in May and is now booking well into 2000. Last year, it won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. The original production continues its five-year run on Broadway. Worldwide, more than 15 million people have seen Beauty & the Beast.