When Disney releases its live-action remake of Beauty and The Beast on March 17 of next year, viewers will hear three new ballads written by composer Alan Menken — who penned the tunes for the original 1991 animated version with the late Howard Ashman — and lyricist Tim Rice. These include a song performed by Emma Watson’s Belle with her character’s father Maurice (Kevin Kline), and another called “For Evermore,” sung by Dan Stevens’ Beast.

“It ends up being a song called ‘Our Song Lives On,’ and it’s done in a number of forms,” says Menken of the former track. “The first time it’s sung, it’s Belle’s father singing as he’s completing a music box, and basically it’s [about], ‘How does a moment live forever? How do you hang on to precious moments?’ Then, it’s reprised by Belle, and then it’s the song that’s actually over the end credits at the end of the movie. Disney hasn’t announced it yet, but there’s going to be some wonderful singer on the end credits song.

“‘For Evermore’ is this moment where the Beast now loves Belle, and he realizes that she misses her father, and he acknowledges she’s no longer a prisoner, and when she sees her father’s in trouble, he says, ‘Go to him, go.’ And he voluntarily lets her go,” Menken continues. “He’s basically singing about how he now knows what love is, as he watches her leave, and he’s climbing up the turret of the castle as she recedes into the distance, just watching her go further and further away.”

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The third new song is called “Days in the Sun” and, according to Beauty and the Beast producer David Hoberman, is a very special number indeed. When EW visited the film’s London set last year, Hoberman told us he believed the song is destined to win Menken a ninth Academy Award to go with the eight he already has for his work on The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and the animated Beauty and the Beast.

“Well, that’s great of him to say that,” admits Menken. “‘Days in the Sun’ is a moment when all of the objects in the castle —and Belle — are going to sleep. Basically, everybody in the castle is having memories of what it used to be when they had their days in the sun. It’s sort of a combination of a lullaby and a remembrance of happier days for everybody.”

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Still not excited? EW can exclusively reveal that the new Beauty and the Beast will also feature a showcase for Broadway legend Audra McDonald, who plays the part of Madame De Garderobe.

“It’s a moment within the prologue, just before the spell befalls the castle,” Menken says. “We’re actually at an event at the Prince’s castle, where the Prince is about to be turned into the Beast, and he’s in his very selfish and self-indulgent phase of his life, and we see that, and we have the magnificent Audra McDonald singing this number.”

Beauty and the Beast (2017)
  • Movie
  • 129 minutes