A Broadway star who once played the Beast in "Beauty and the Beast" claims an audiotape Manhattan prosecutors have of him allegedly admitting to dressing-room sex with a 15-year-old girl was obtained illegally.

James Barbour, who is charged with statutory sodomy, was in Los Angeles when he spoke to his alleged victim in New York. While it's legal to tape a phone conversation in New York state — so long as at least one of the parties is aware of the taping — California law requires that both parties be aware.

Barbour says he didn't know the conversation was being taped, making it illegal and inadmissible, his lawyers argued in papers filed yesterday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Micki Scherer will decide whether New York or California law applies, and the tape stays in or out of the case. The judge said she would rule on March 7.