Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald, who also starred in television’s Private Practice, is in final negotiations to join the cast of Disney’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast.
McDonald will join a roll call that includes Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast/Prince,Luke Evans as the vain villain Gaston, and Josh Gad as Le Fou, Gaston’s buffoonish and loyal sidekick. The live-action film, directed by Bill Condon, is aligning itself closely with the 1991 animated classic.
McDonald is a stage star who has won acclaim for both her vocal and dramatic chops, reflected in her recent Tony wins: best performance by an actress in a musical for Porgy and Bess in 2012 and best performance by an actress in a play for Lady Day in Emerson’s Bar and Grill in 2014. She also has Tonys for her work in A Raisin in the Sun, Ragtime, Carousel and others. (She has six, winning three of them by the age of 28.)
In Beauty, McDonald will be playing Garderobe, the French word for wardrobe.
In Disney’s fairy tale, the Prince is placed under a curse which sees his servants turned into various objects in the castle. The lady-in-waiting is turned into Garderobe. She, along with Mrs. Potts, a kettle, assists Belle in her initial loneliness and takes part in the “Be Our Guest” showstopper.
The character also sings a solo as part of “Human Again,” a song which was deleted from the 1991 movie but later added to the 2002 special-edition DVD.
Production begins in May at Shepperton Studios in London.
McDonald, repped by WME, will be seen in HBO’s adaptation of Lady Day and returns to Broadway with Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed.