Following the success of High School Musical, the cast is rightfully pumped to venture into their next musical territory. However, the excitement quickly turns upside down when the drama teacher for West High suddenly reveals they’re working on The Little Mermaid in hopes that they win an Alan Menken award. Instead of putting on their planned production of High School Musical 2, Miss Jenn decides to change their spring musical to Beauty and the Beast in the hopes that they have the best chance of winning.
In a press release back in February, the showrunners stated that “In season two, the East High Wildcats, who are preparing to perform Beauty and the Beast as their spring musical, face off against rival school North High to win a prestigious and cutthroat student theater competition,” Disney+ revealed in a press release. “Wigs are snatched, loyalties are tested, and ballads are belted. The season also features brand-new solos written by Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett.”
Aside from which cast members are playing who in season 2, the lingering question is what music will be used from the Broadway/Live-action production of Beauty and the Beast that wasn’t in the original animated version? Here are six we hope to see:
1) HOW DOES A MOMENT LAST FOREVER? – One of the very few complaints that stem from the original animated iteration of Beauty and the Beast has to do with the lack of characterization of Maurice. Here, in the live-action remake, he gets his musical number to help flesh out his character more. In comparison to the other numbers in the
movie, this one is very calm and relaxed, and it actually feels very stripped back and almost bare. Still, there’s no denying that the emotion of the song punches through, which is the ultimate goal with this one. For Maurice, it should be the lovable Big Red. The loyalty that Big Red had shown in season 1 mirrors that of Maurice when it comes to Belle, it truly knows no bounds.
2) AERIE – There’s no denying that Audra McDonald, who portrays Madame de Garderobe aka the Wardrobe, has got an incredible voice, and that much is on display during this new song that is added to the live-action movie. If the song is to appear in season 2, it will be a tall task to whoever is cast as her character. This is a very operatic moment, and it certainly showcases anyone’s fantastic vocal ability. Madame De Garderobe has a powerful voice, so one option is to cast Kourtney as her. East High drama teacher Miss Jenn hinted in Season 1 that she had big plans for Kourtney after she wowed her theater peers with her powerful voice at tech rehearsal.
3) IF I CAN’T LOVE HER – After scaring Belle out of the West Wing, Beast immediately feels remorse as he realizes what he’s done and believes to be a lost cause. The song acts as a sort of anticipatory reprise of How Long Must This Go on? Whereas that one shows The Beast blaming the enchantress for all of his problems, here, with If I Can’t Love Her, he’s finally showing regret for his behavior. This is the one where The Beast truly shows his hopelessness, because if someone as loving as Belle can’t drive him to become more loving, then what will? The inclusion of this song depends on the amount of length and pathos Miss Jenn wants to add to her stage production of the show. The only plausible answer for who should play The Beast is Ricky. Is it a little unfair to cast Ricky, a.k.a. Season 1’s Troy, as the male lead again in Season 2? Perhaps. Ricky has all the raw vulnerability and unexpected charm needed for a convincing Beast.
4) ME – The original Beauty and the Beast already contained two of the more iconic villain songs in any Disney movie, and The Broadway version wanted to add just one more. Gaston’s proposal is even more bombastic, as he does what he does best: sing about how great he is in an absurdist way. The greatest attribute this song has is being as close to the original songwriter’s Howard Ashman’s humor when it came to writing Gaston’s songs. Whereas it’s a great song that adds a little more depth to Gaston’s character, one can’t ignore the subtle sexism used throughout. With High School Musical: The Musical: The Series being a rather progressive show for today’s standards, one has to wonder if this one will be included at all. The perfect cast member for the role is EJ. This role almost seems typecast, but this one is just too easy. A major superiority complex paired with a struggle to comprehend or exhibit real human emotions? Check and check. Gaston is EJ. EJ is Gaston.
5) EVERMORE – Out of all the new songs that were put into the live-action version of the movie, “Evermore” is comfortably the strongest. Giving The Beast his solo song was an excellent decision, really showcasing the heartache he feels after letting Belle go, accepting his fate to remain in that physical state forever. It’s an incredible number that hits some huge heights in terms of vocals, with the instrumental sections matching it all the way. Much like “Aerie”, whosoever role it is to play The Beast must take the challenge up and give it their all if the song were to appear in their production.
6) HOME – In keeping with the play’s further exploration of Belle’s arc, she sings about how she will never find happiness by being imprisoned in The Beast’s castle. The main thesis of the song consists of not being able to go back in the past in order to fix your problems. It’s an emotionally seared song where Belle belts out about her deepest fears, her internal conflicts that have arisen. Towards the end, Belle definitely stands against them. The song itself acts as a contrasting juxtaposition to Gaston’s songs. Where Gaston broods about himself and how he will make Belle his housewife, here Belle stands firm against the trials and tribulations she has endured. Going along with the theme of the show, it’s almost vital that the showrunners include some sort of rendition of this in season 2. Choosing who to play Belle is tricky since there are loads of cast members who can step up to the plate and do it. However, the only reasonable choice is Ashlyn. While she certainly made the most of her supporting role in the first season, it would be a sin not to cast Ashlyn as the lead this time around. Her stunning rendition of the emotional ballad “Wondering” in “High School Musical” achieved the impressive feat of rounding out fan-favorite Miss Darbus’.