David Alan Grier is joining the cast of ABC’s Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration.
The Tony winner will play Cogsworth in the star-studded production. Previously announced cast members include Oscar winner H.E.R. as Belle, Josh Groban as Beast and Joshua Henry as Gaston. Rita Moreno will serve as the show’s narrator in the live-action/animated hybrid production.
Executive producer of Beauty & the Beast: A 30th Celebration, Jon Chu, introduced the news during D23 2022, followed by introductions of panelists that included H.E.R., executive producer Raj Kapoor, production designer Julio Himede, costume designer Marina Toybina, and choreographer Jamal Sims.
Kapoor explained that the project has been three years in the making, with producers being granted unprecedented access to the Disney archives—including animators’ original maquettes and character sketches used to create the 1991 classic.
The special, to be directed by Hamish Hamilton, will be recorded live and feature never-before-seen musical performances. Jamal Sims is serving as executive producer and choreographer. Set design is by Julio Himede with costumes by Marina Toybina (“The Masked Singer”).
Jon M. Chu expressed his love for project by stating, “When the animated movie came out, I watched it multiple times in the first weekend,” Chu said when the project was announced in April. “It showed me the outer limits of what animated artists and storytellers could achieve, so the fact that I get to executive produce a tribute to all the creatives that made this masterpiece through our Electric Somewhere company is a dream I didn’t even think was possible.”
The special will premiere December 15th on ABC and stream on Disney+ the next day.
The 1991 musical film was the first animated movie to be nominated for a best picture Oscar. It took home Academy Awards for original score and original song for its title song.