This edited post was originally published in full on The 4th Wall, a blog about dramaturgy run by the BYU Department of Theatre and Media Arts. We’ve partnered with the cast and crew of an upcoming BYU musical production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to examine the history behind this classic fairy tale and it’s depictions ranging from the Broadway stage to the television in your living room. In this blog we’ll show the overlap between our data from television history and BYU dramaturg Kasey Kopp’s research for the upcoming stage production.
Many thanks to Kasey for his work. In addition to learning about the history of the tale itself, our group of scholars has been collecting data on the trends of televised adaptations or appearances by Beauty and the Beast characters or themes. One of the trends we track is the genres in which these different fairy tale figures appear. Here is a visualization of the television genres that have featured Beauty and the Beast. Here is how to make sense of this graph. On the right side of the circle are the different kinds of fairy tale figures and the left side is broken down into their appearances in specific TV genres. For this graphic only the Beauty and Beast’s connections appear accented. (Visit this page and select “Fairy Tale/Genre Relationships” under the Network/Relational Graphs tab to see the complete and interactive graph).
So what we can tell from this graph is that Beauty and the Beast stories exist and thrive far beyond Disney’s musical adaptation, as Kasey pointed out before. Though primarily adapted as or appearing in children’s programing either comedic or dramatic in nature, the Beauty and the Beast story has been told in disparate genres including horror and science fiction and featured in shows like a 1991 episode of an animated Beetlejuice series and the 1980s show about a teenage Superman, The Adventures of Superboy.