Beauty and the Beast: Anneliese van der Pol is to be Broadway's new, and last, Belle

22 year old actress Anneliese van der Pol, star of the Disney Channel hit 'That�s So Raven,' will be making her Broadway debut as the Belle of Broadway in Disney�s Beauty And The Beast. Anneliese will begin performances as Belle on 3 Apr at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. She will be the 17th, and last, actress to play the role in the Broadway production which is to close on 29 Jul 2007.

"It�s a dream come true to play Belle,� Anneliese said. �It�s so exciting not only to be making my Broadway debut in this fabulous show, but to also have the honor of being the last person to play Belle on Broadway.�

Producer Thomas Schumacher said �It�s a real pleasure to welcome Anneliese to Broadway. She is a beloved Disney Channel star and is no stranger to the theater. We are so glad that she�s making her Broadway debut and celebrating Beauty�s final months with us.� Anneliese van der Pol stars in the popular Disney Channel show �That�s So Raven� as Chelsea Daniels, Raven's best friend. Chelsea�s loyalty as Raven's sidekick often draws her into humorous escapades in the Disney Channel original comedy series.

In 1999, Anneliese won rave reviews from the Los Angeles Times as Eva Peron in the Buena Park Civic Theatre production of Evita. She also earned a place in history as the youngest actress (at age 15) to play the role in a professional production. In 2002, Anneliese starred as Laurey in Austin Musical Theater's production of Oklahoma!. Her performance in this celebrated show earned her the B. Iden Payne and the Austin Critics Table award nominations for Best Actress in a Musical. Beauty And The Beast opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre in 1994, where it played more than 2,250 performances, becoming the longest-running show ever at the theatre.

The production moved to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1999, where it is also the longest-running tenant at this theatre. The musical is currently booking to the 4 Mar 2007.

Beauty And The Beast is Broadway's longest running American musical and the 6th longest running musical of all time. Seen in 13 countries, the total worldwide attendance stands at more than 25 million people, making it one of the world�s most-seen musicals.

Disney�s Beauty And The Beast, features Steve Blanchard (The Beast), Deborah Lew (Belle), Stephen R. Buntrock (Gaston), Jonathan Freeman (Cogsworth), Stuart Marland (Lumiere), John Tartaglia (Lumiere), Jeanne Lehmann (Mrs. Potts), Jamie Ross (Maurice), Aldrin Gonzales (Lefou), Meredith Inglesby (Babette) and Mary Stout (Madame de la Grande Bouche). Trevor Braun and Alexander Scheitinger alternate the role of Chip.

Beauty And The Beast is the classic love story of Belle, a young woman in a small, provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a prince trapped in a spell placed on him by an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and to be loved, the spell will be broken and he will be transformed back to his former self. But time is running out, and if the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he will be doomed for all eternity.

Disney's Beauty And The Beast features Alan Menken's Academy Award-winning score, songs by the late Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (including the Academy Award-winning title song 'Be Our Guest'), plus songs written especially for the stage by Alan Menken and Tim Rice (including 'If I Can't Love Her' and 'A Change In Me'). Book is by Linda Woolverton, author of the original screenplay.

The musical is choreographed by Matt West and directed by Robert Jess Roth. Sets are by Stan Meyer, costumes by Ann Hould-Ward, and lighting by Natasha Katz.

Originally published on

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