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'Beast' nears end of beautiful run

QUICK TAKES

July 17, 2007|From the Associated Press

When any long-running Broadway musical brings down its curtain for the last time, the show is awash in statistics. So why shouldn't "Beauty and the Beast," which ends its New York engagement July 29 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, be any different?

Based on the celebrated Disney animated film, the musical, which opened in April 1994, tells the story of Belle, a spirited young woman, and the transforming power of her love for a morose and hairy creature. By the time "Beauty and the Beast" closes on Broadway, it will have played 5,464 performances and 46 previews.

The current Beast, Steve Blanchard, has played the role more than 3,300 times. And before he was the Beast, Blanchard portrayed Gaston, the show's villain, for a year on Broadway. There have been 17 Belles.

Worldwide, the show has grossed more than $1.4 billion, playing to more the 26 million people in 13 countries. In North America, two national tours played a total of 90 cities in 36 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada.

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