Composer Lesle Lewis talks to Swagata Panjari on recreating the music of the Indian adaptation of the Beauty And The Beast musical even as he stayed true to trademark Disney sounds
The Indian adaption of Disney’s enchanting Beauty And The Beast, staged for the first time in India recently, received a thunderous response, creating a potential market for more Broadway musicals. But apart from Disney India’s Siddharth Roy Kapur and the musical’s director Vikranth Pawar, there’s someone else who is ecstatic at the super success of the grand theatrical production.While the original composition was directed by Academy Award-winning Alan Menken, the demanding task of recreating the compositions for the adapted version was given to music director Lesle Lewis.
Lewis worked on the project for more than six months. Since the Indian production of Beauty And The Beast was a tad different from the international offering, the composer-songwriter had to recreate the score for the musical. Lewis says, “Since the Indian production is slightly different, the songs from the second act were brought to the first act. The shuffling disrupted the background music, so we had to make sure that the songs blended with the music. There was a lot of background work that went into making the music. One thing that I demanded from Disney India was a full, live orchestra to record the music and they were gracious enough to allow me to do that.”
Since India doesn’t have a live Western orchestra, the composer opted for one from Prague and Czechoslovakia. “I got the best musicians and the best orchestra, the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The person who was conducting the orchestra has also worked on James Bond films. I got the best team for creating the music,” he adds. India has become the 29th country to host the Beauty And The Beast musical.