- Joan Marcus
Before Pixar's three-dimensional wizardry asserted its dominance, Walt Disney Animation Studios held the reins of animated storytelling for decades. While many of the organization's great works involved talking or mute animals — "Dumbo," "Bambi," "101 Dalmatians," "The Jungle Book" and "The Lion King," to name a few — the Mouse House's primary collection of inspiration was Old-World fairy tales, regularly reworking the typically dark and grim tales into works that considerably surpass their source material. Among stories such as "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty," none achieved more critical success than 1991's "Beauty and the Beast," a film that garnered the first Academy Award nomination for best picture (long before the days of a separate animated category and a bloated 10-nominee slate). Converted to the stage more than 10 years ago, Broadway in Richmond presents a big-budget adaptation of "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" at the Landmark Theater on Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30. $40-$72. 800-745-3000.