The Beast is the male protagonist of the musical Beauty and the Beast. As the musical is based on the film and traditional fairy tale of the same name, the Beast is based on the corresponding character from that fairy tale.
In the stage adaptation of the film, the Beast's role in the story, in addition to his character development, is expanded considerably. The role was originated by Terrence Mann, while the final performances of the Beast were portrayed by Steve Blanchard. The stage version, at the start, portrays the Beast as more physically abusive and mentally unsettled.
Unlike the film, where the singing performance of Beast was only utilized during "Something There", several new songs were written for the Beast, including "How Long Must This Go On?", where the Beast reflects his mistake in turning away the Enchantress, and his longing for forgiveness. In "If I Can't Love Her", the Beast contemplates on his decaying humanity and the hardships of the curse that befell the castle. This was driven out of physically harming Belle prior, though he admitted harm was not his intention, revealing the curse has begun overtaking his physical actions. He is also given a reprise of this song, shortly after releasing Belle from the castle.
Like the film, Beast and Belle are shown to bond through books, though the stage version elaborates on this further. After being read a book aloud, Beast discovers the power of literature, and how it can take him to a world of fantasy, and be used as an escape from the pressures and despair of his cursed life—something Belle openly relates to.