Beauty and the Beast set to enchant Sunderland Empire audiences as show announced for city venue

One of the most popular Disney musicals of all time is set to enchant Empire audiences as part of a major new tour.

The Echo can reveal that Beauty and the Beast UK & Ireland tour will cast its spell on Wearside for a month’s run, from January 20 – February 19, 2022.

With new designs and state-of-the-art technology, the tour will be bringing the beloved tale to life in a re-imagined way.

The new production reunites members of the original Broadway creative team and features iconic songs such as Belle, Be Our Guest and Beauty and the Beast.

Emmanuel Kojo as Beast and Courtney Stapleton as Belle with the cast of Disney's Beauty and the Beast - Photo by Johan Persson © Disney.

The Olivier Award-winning stage musical recently opened in Liverpool and the Empire is the only North East date announced on the tour so far.

Courtney Stapleton and Emmanuel Kojo will play the iconic lead roles. Courtney’s credits include Dear Evan Hansen, Six, Les Misérables and Bat Out of Hell, and Emmanuel is best known for performing in Oklahoma!, Girl from the North Country, Show Boat and The Scottsboro Boys.

Gavin Lee, who’s performed in Mary Poppins, SpongeBob SquarePants, the Broadway Musical and Les Misérables, plays Lumiere and Tom Senior, from The Pirates of Penzance and Eugenius!, is Gaston.

Sam Bailey, who won The X-Factor winner in 2013 and has since appeared in Blood Brothers, plays the legendary role of Mrs Potts, with Nigel Richards, of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables, playing Cogsworth.

Courtney Stapleton as Belle and Emmanuel Kojo as Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast - Photo by Johan Persson © Disney.

The original West End production of Beauty and the Beast opened at the Dominion Theatre in April 1997, playing over 1100 performances to more than two million people. It won the 1998 Olivier Award for Best Musical and enjoyed a hugely successful UK & Ireland tour in 2001.

Based on the 1991 film – the first animated feature ever nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture – Beauty and the Beast opened on Broadway in April 1994 and garnered nine Tony nominations and one win. It played for more than 13 years on Broadway, closing in 2007. It remains to this day – 26 years after it opened – among the top 10 longest running shows in Broadway history.

Tickets for the Sunderland dates will go on sale from Tuesday, October 12. Customers can sign up to be amongst the first to access tickets at

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