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Be Our Guest facts for kids

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Not to be confused with B.R. Guest, an American restaurant group, and Be Our Guest Restaurant, a Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant at the Magic Kingdom that is named after the song.
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"Be Our Guest"
Song by Jerry Orbach and Angela Lansbury
from the album Beauty and the Beast: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Released October 29, 1991
Length 3:44
Label Walt Disney
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Howard Ashman
  • Alan Menken

"Be Our Guest" is a song written by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken for Walt Disney Pictures' 30th animated feature film Beauty and the Beast (1991). Recorded by American actor Jerry Orbach and English actress Angela Lansbury as Lumière and Mrs. Potts, respectively, "Be Our Guest" is a large-scale Broadway-inspired musical number that takes place during the first half of Beauty and the Beast, performed by the castle's staff of enchanted objects in an elaborate attempt to welcome Belle. Menken initially intended for the melody of "Be Our Guest" to be temporary but was ultimately unable to compose a satisfying one with which to replace it. The song had originally been intended for Belle's father Maurice. However, "Be Our Guest" had to be entirely re-written as the story evolved in order to return its focus to Belle.

"Be Our Guest" has garnered universal acclaim from both film and music critics who, in addition to dubbing the song a show-stopper, praised its catchiness and Orbach's vocal performance while applauding the scene's unprecedented use of computer-generated imagery. "Be Our Guest" has since been extolled as one of Disney's most celebrated and popular songs, establishing itself as one of the studio's greatest and most iconic. "Be Our Guest" received nominations for both the Golden Globe and Academy Awards for Best Original Song, being performed by Orbach live at the 64th Academy Awards, ultimately losing both to the film's title song. "Be Our Guest" has been ranked highly on several "best Disney song" countdown lists, garnering recognition from IGN, M and the American Film Institute. Disney has further used the song in the Broadway musical adaptation and the 2017 live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. The song's title has been used for the Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom, and as a tagline for promoting the 2017 film. The song has been parodied in an episode of The Simpsons and the film South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.

Background

Originally, Beauty and the Beast, under the direction of Richard Purdum, was not intended to be a musical. Then-studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg made the decision to turn the film into a Broadway-style musical similar to The Little Mermaid (1989), Disney's previous animated film, after he, displeased with the film's initial story reel, ordered the film scrapped and restarted from scratch. As a result, Purdum resigned, and first-time feature film directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale replaced him.

Following the Academy Award-winning success of The Little Mermaid, Katzenberg asked The Little Mermaid songwriting duo of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken to write the songs for and score Beauty and the Beast. At first Ashman, who was at the time writing songs with Menken for a recently pitched idea for another Disney film called Aladdin (1992), was reluctant to join the struggling film project, but eventually agreed.

Musically, "Be Our Guest" is based on a simple melody that was composed by Menken, who initially had little intention of using it as anything more than just a "dummy." Upon singing the tune and presenting it to co-writer Ashman, Menken discovered that he was unable to come up with a melody capable of surpassing "that dumb piece of music that I wrote initially because it was just right." Subsequently, Ashman wrote the song's lyrics.

Originally, the filmmakers had initially intended for "Be Our Guest" to be performed by Lumière to Belle's disoriented father Maurice when the character first discovers the Beast's castle. According to co-director Gary Trousdale, "The song had already been recorded and the sequence partially animated when we decided that it would be more meaningful if it was directed towards Belle" because "she is one of the two main characters and the story revolves around her coming to the castle." Consequently, the song had to be re-written and the entire scene re-animated. Trousdale explained, "We had to bring Jerry Orbach and all the other vocal talents back into the studio to change all references to gender that appeared in the original recording."

Music and lyrics

"Be Our Guest" is, according to the song's official sheet music, a Broadway musical-inspired song. Another inspiration for the song is a minor theme from Mahler's Third Symphony, occurring in both the first and third movements, which the Disney song copied nearly note for note as the main theme. An energetic, "turbo-charged Broadway chorus number," "Be Our Guest" was written in common time at a "free" tempo of 50 beats per minute, spanning a length of three minutes and forty-four seconds. In "Be Our Guest," Orbach's "low" tenor or baritone vocal range spans roughly three octaves, from the low note of F3 to the high note of D♭6. Described as a "scintillating," "jolly," "lavish and bouncy" song, "Be Our Guest" is, according to TV Guide, a "boisterous" number, comparing it to songs from the Broadway musicals Hello, Dolly! and Mame. Musically, the song, according to Film.com, has a total of four key changes and modulations, beginning slowly and "gradually build[ing] ... to a thunderous, bring-the-house-down climax."

Additionally described as "a spark of Gallic vaudeville that lights a flame to both [entertainers] Maurice Chevalier and Yves Montand," "Be Our Guest" depicts both "fun" and "humour." Extending a warm, energetic invitation towards Belle, the first verse of the song is preceded by a spoken introduction. It reads, at first in French, "Ma chere Mademoiselle, it is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that we welcome you tonight. And now we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair as the dining room proudly presents: your dinner," immediately succeeded by the sung lyrics "Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test," continuing with "Go on, unfold your menu / take a glance and then you'll / be our guest / oui, our guest / be our guest." A nostalgic Lumiere muses about being human, pining for the "good old days when we were useful." Furthermore, Lumiere voices his need to serve, singing, "Life is so unnerving/For a servant who's not serving."

Awards, accolades and legacy

Alongside the songs "Beauty and the Beast" and "Belle," "Be Our Guest" was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 64th Academy Awards in 1992. Having garnered three separate Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song, Beauty and the Beast became the first film in the history of the Academy Awards to achieve this rare feat; this would not be repeated until The Lion King had three songs nominated for the award. Ultimately, "Be Our Guest" lost to the film's title song. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Beauty and the Beast producer Don Hahn revealed that Disney feared that having three songs nominated for Best Original Song would result in a draw or three-way tie. Therefore, while "Beauty and the Beast" received heavy promotion from the studio, significantly less was given to "Be Our Guest" and "Belle." "Be Our Guest" was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song at the 49th Golden Globe Awards in 1992, losing again to "Beauty and the Beast." In 2004, the American Film Institute nominated "Be Our Guest" for its "100 Years…100 Songs" ranking.

Allwomenstalk believes that "Be Our Guest" represents "what Disney is all about." Dubbed one of the most memorable songs from Beauty and the Beast, while lauded as a "favorite," a "classic" and "one of the greatest showstoppers" in film history, "Be Out Guest" is commonly cited as one of Disney's greatest songs. As Beauty and the Beast's "most frequently heard song," BuzzSugar ranked "Be Our Guest" third on the website's list of the "25 Disney Songs We Will Never Stop Singing". Calling the song a "gem," author Maggie Pehanick wrote that "Be Our Guest" was "one of the first [Disney] songs to get permanently lodged in your brain." Oh No They Didn't ranked "Be Our Guest" eighth on its list of "The Top 25 Disney Songs of All Time", while IGN ranked the song third, with author Lucy O'Brien writing, "Of all the brilliant numbers peppered throughout Beauty and the Beast, it's the turbo-charged Broadway chorus number [']Be Our Guest['] that's the stand-out," describing it as "one of the best songs ever devised by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman." "Be Our Guest" was ranked seventh on M's "Top 20 Disney Songs of All Time" list, with author Stephanie Osmanski citing "Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test" as her favorite lyrics. Meanwhile, HitFix ranked "Be Our Guest" sixth on their own list o "The 20 Best Disney Songs of All Time." Additionally, while ranking Lumiere the thirty-ninth "Best Animated Movie Character" of all-time, Empire hailed "Be Our Guest" as the character's best moment and "Stroke of genius," writing, "The song ... sees Lumiere introduce perhaps the greatest dining experience in animation history." While ranking the "50 Greatest Fairy Tale Movies," on which Beauty and the Beast ranked second, Total Film highlighted "Be Our Guest" as the film's "Most Magical Moment." Film.com ranked "Be Our Guest" the thirteenth "Greatest Musical Number ... in Movie History," describing the song as "a masterpiece of showtune construction" while lauding its Busby Berkeley-inspired choreography. "Be Our Guest" was the only animated musical number included on the website's list of 50.

Live performances

In 1992, Jerry Orbach performed "Be Our Guest" at the 64th Academy Awards.

Cultural impact

Broadway musical

"Be Our Guest" was also featured as an elaborate production number in the Broadway musical adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, which ran from 1994 to 2007. Originally performed by American actors Gary Beach and Beth Fowler, who originated the roles of Lumiere and Mrs. Potts, respectively, "Be Our Guest" was "a spectacular dance of illuminated saucers, showgirls bedecked with spinning plates, and giant-size bottles spewing streams of brilliant sparkles." In addition to "performance[s] by eye-catching cutlery, plates, a tablecloth and napkins," the musical number featured "a show-stopping routine [from] a dancing doormat." When the Broadway production transferred to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1999, they also incorporated confetti and streamer cannons that erupt at the end.

Reception towards the Broadway treatment of "Be Our Guest" has been generally mixed. While some theatre critics, such as Alex Bentley of CultureMap, felt that "Be Our Guest" "remain[s] as timeless as ever," The Christian Science Monitor's Karen Campbell criticized the number's lavishness, feeling that it compromised the story Campbell wrote, "Only in the fantastical 'Be Our Guest' number ... does the show's extraordinary technological magic threaten to derail the story line." However, some critics did positively comment on the fact that the Broadway adaptation of "Be Our Guest" was more than simply a "cookie-cutter" carbon copy rendition of the original version featured in the animated film.

Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway

On 8 April 2017, English television personalities Ant & Dec performed a special rendition of the song for the series finale of Series 14 at Walt Disney World.

Live-action film

"Be Our Guest" is featured in the 2017 live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. In addition, the phrase "Be Our Guest" became the tagline in promotional trailers and posters for the film. The song is performed primarily by Ewan McGregor, with contributions from Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Ian McKellen. This version is very similar to the animated film, except that Lumiere sings "Too long we've been rusting" where he sang "Ten years" in the original, as well as when Lumiere sings "We'll prepare and serve with flair a culinary cabaret," there is a musical nod to Kander & Ebb's 1966 musical Cabaret's "signature, campy, percussive sound."

The Lion King

The song appeared briefly in Jon Favreau's CGI remake of Disney's The Lion King, performed by Billy Eichner as Timon the meerkat. In order to distract the hyenas, Timon sat on top of Pumbaa the warthog (Seth Rogen) and sang the opening lines of the song, but only got to "Be our", and then screaming as the hyenas began to circle.

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