While many of us can recite the enchanting songs from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” word for word, there may soon be fewer opportunities to enjoy these beloved melodies publicly. During a panel at C2E2, voice actor Richard White, who famously brought the character Gaston to life, shared some surprising and rather disheartening news: Walt Disney Animation Studios has placed restrictions on the public performance of the film’s iconic music.

“Beauty and the Beast” (1991), a cornerstone of the Disney Renaissance period, along with gems like “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King,” was a miraculous return to form for the struggling Disney animation department. With its enchanting story of Belle (Paige O’Hara), an avid bookworm, and the cursed Beast (Robby Benson), it captured hearts and won numerous accolades, including Academy Awards for Alan Menken’s score and the unforgettable title song by Howard Ashman and Menken.

After its cinematic triumph, “Beauty and the Beast” transitioned into an equally successful Broadway show, receiving a Tony Award for costume design and running for a splendid 13 years. Even though the 2017 live-action adaptation starred heavyweights like Emma Watson, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, and Dan Stevens, it was met with tepid responses from fans, owing to its overproduced music and less-than-stellar merchandise.

Despite the passage of time, the magic of “Beauty and the Beast” still endures. During his panel, White revealed his continued dedication to this Disney classic, attributing much of its charm to the late Howard Ashman’s creative freedom. However, he also disclosed that Disney’s current policies prevent him from performing any of the film’s music outside of official contexts, especially at fan conventions.

The heartwarming original songs that charmed audiences for decades are now under the protective watch of Disney. While it remains unclear if other original cast members face the same restrictions, Disney fans can still catch special live performances by original singers at exclusive events like Disney Concerts at The Hollywood Bowl.

So, what do you think? Should Disney relax its rules and allow the magic of “Beauty and the Beast” to flourish more freely in the public domain, or is safeguarding these iconic songs a necessary step? Share your thoughts in the comments below and join the discussion!