Once upon a time, in a faraway land, an Enchantress turns a cruel, unfeeling Prince into a hideous Beast. To break the spell, the Beast must learn to love another and earn her love in return before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose.
Ten years later, in a small village far below the Beast's castle, a beautiful and intelligent young woman, Belle, yearns for adventure ("Belle"). On the way to show his invention at a fair, Belle's father, Maurice, gets lost and seeks shelter in the Beast's castle. Enchanted servants – Cogsworth, Lumiere, Babette, Mrs. Potts and Chip – try to make Maurice comfortable, but the Beast imprisons the intruder.
Meanwhile, back in town, Gaston, the village brute, proposes to Belle, to the dismay of the Silly Girls, who fawn over him. Belle turns Gaston down ("Belle – Reprise"). When Belle notices Gaston's sidekick, Lefou, wearing her father's scarf, Belle runs off to search for him. Belle finds her missing father at the castle and offers herself in exchange for his freedom. The Beast agrees, sending Maurice back to the village, and then escorts Belle to her bedroom, where she considers what she has done ("Home"). Seeing their guest forlorn, Mrs. Potts and Madame de la Grande Bouche comfort Belle ("Home – Tag").
In the village tavern, Lefou and the Villagers try to lift Gaston's spirits ("Gaston"). When "crazy old" Maurice barges in, claiming that he has seen a Beast, Gaston and Lefou form a plan to win Belle ("Gaston – Reprise").
At the castle, the servants coach the Beast on how to act like a gentleman. When Belle refuses to accept the Beast's invitation to dinner, he loses his temper and tells her to starve. However, Lumiere and the Servants offer Belle an extravagant feast anyway ("Be Our Guest"). Afterwards, Cogsworth gives Belle a tour of the castle, and she wanders off into the forbidden west wing. The Beast discovers her there and loses his temper, which causes the frightened Belle to flee the castle.
In the forest, Belle is attacked by wolves. The Beast comes to her rescue but is injured in the process. Having a change of heart, Belle helps the Beast back to the castle and dresses his wound. The servants recognize something different between Belle and the Beast ("Something There") and express their hope that the spell may soon be broken ("Human Again"). The Beast asks Belle to have dinner with him, and they share a romantic evening together ("Beauty and the Beast").
Despite this new friendship, Belle longs to see her father. Using the Beast's magic mirror, Belle sees that Maurice is in trouble, so the Beast frees her. Belle finds Maurice in the forest and takes him home to the village, where Gaston has arranged for Monsieur D'arque to take him to the lunatic asylum. Belle proves that her father is not crazy by showing the Beast in the magic mirror. Jealous of Belle's affection for someone else, Gaston whips the villagers into a frenzy. They storm the castle to kill the Beast ("The Mob Song"). While the servants defend the castle from the villagers' attack, Gaston confronts and stabs the Beast in the west wing. The Beast, while still much stronger than Gaston, refuses to kill him, and Gaston runs away in shame. Belle arrives and tells the dying beast that she loves him ("Home – Reprise"), which breaks the spell. The Beast transforms back into the Prince, the servants become human again, and they all live happily ever after.