The dramatic story behind the most famous song in ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Angela Lansbury Beauty and the Beast anniversary red carpet

“Beauty and the Beast” turns 25 this year, and Disney celebrated the anniversary with a special screening of the remastered movie in New York City. Cast and crew were on hand to reminisce about creating the instant Disney classic, and Angela Lansbury (who voiced Mrs. Potts) was the star of the evening. 

When asked about their favourite memory from the movie making process, Paige O’Hara (Belle) told the audience about how Lansbury recorded the titular “Beauty and the Beast” song in a single take.

“I remember the day we were in the recording studio with the amazing Broadway singers in the background chorus and the amazing [New York Philarmonic] orchestra,” O’Hara said. “And then Ms. Lansbury — who I have admired my whole life — came in after being up all night […] and was a trooper. We were all worried she would be too exhausted and then she comes out and sings ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in one take.”

Lansbury picked up the story, and revealed it was more dramatic than O’Hara might have realised.

Beauty and the Beast cast NYC screening Disney
Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts), Richard White (Gaston), Robby Benson (The Beast), and Paige O’Hara (Belle) on stage at the Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Neilson Barnard/Getty

“The plane had turned course for a new landing — there was a bomb call,” Lansbury recounted. “And here we are, I’m on my way to New York, and we couldn’t take off again [at first].”

Eventually the bomb scare was investigated and revealed to be a hoax, allowing the plane to resume course for New York City. “We made it just in time,” Lansbury said. She contributes her one-take wonder to the leftover adrenaline from her travel adventure. “I think it was the excitement of it all, the sense of ‘do it now!'” 

After the screening, Lansbury returned to the stage to perform “Beauty and the Beast” with Alan Menken — the song’s original co-writer and Disney music legend. Watch her surprise performance below:

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