Casting continues today on Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast adaptation, with Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald boarding the project in the role of Garderobe (French for wardrobe).
McDonald starred in television’s Private Practice but is best known for her roles in musicals Porgy and Bess, Lady Day in Emerson’s Bar and Grill, A Raisin in the Sun, Ragtime and Carousel (all of which won her Tonys). She joins a cast that includes The Perks of Being a Wallflower actress Emma Watson as the lovely Belle, Downton Abbey alum Dan Stevens as the Beast, Dracula Untold‘s Luke Evans as self-centered villain Gaston and The Comedians‘ Josh Gad as Le Fou, Gaston’s sidekick.
McDonald’s casting indicates that, as previously rumored, this Beauty and the Beast, to be directed by Bill Condon (The Fifth Estate, Dreamgirls), will include song-and-dance numbers. As Garderobe, a lady-in-waiting transformed into a wardrobe by the same magic spell that turned the Prince into the Beast, McDonald will get to take part in the “Be Our Guest” musical number and perhaps sing a solo in the song “Human Again” (cut from Disney’s cartoon but added back in on a DVD release). The new take appears to be hewing pretty closely to the story of the animated original.
Production on the high-profile pic is set to kick off in May at Shepperton Studios in London.
Before Beauty and the Beast hits theaters, though, McDonald will appear in HBO’s adaptation of Lady Day in Emerson’s Bar and Grill and also star in the Broadway production Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed.