We first reported in November, that Beauty and the Beast is coming to Vancouver on February 8-12 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Most of us have experienced the retelling of this story through books, movies or shows. We chatted with Belle to learn about what we could expect from this rendition. Buy tickets now at www.ticketmaster.ca
1. Beauty and the Beast is a classic many of us have grown up with. What can viewers, who have only read the book or seen the movie, expect from this live musical rendition?
Though the musical stage production is similar to the animated film of Beauty and the Beast, the live show offers Broadway sparkle with added dancing and singing in “Human Again” and an extended version of “Gaston”. The live show also includes 2 new songs for Belle called “Home” and “A Change of Me” and you even get to hear the Beast sing in “If I can’t love her.” Also, more dialogue has been added by the book writer, Linda Woolverton, which only makes the characters more loveable and more personable. Tony award winning costumes, by Anne Hould Ward also set the live production apart (especially Belle’s yellow gown!), and the other design elements make the story that we all know and love come to life in a way that the film can not.
2. Why do you think this story is timeless?
I think this story is timeless because more than 20 years after the film was released, and after its extensive run on Broadway, it is still a story that powerfully impacts people young and old. A young woman unknowingly falls for the tortured Beast, showing the importance of seeing past the exterior and instead looking into someone’s heart. Learning to truly love unconditionally is one of the most wonderful experiences known to the humankind, making Beauty and the Beast one of the most timeless stories around!
3. Who in the story is your favorite character and why?
Well, I suppose I am a bit biased, but my favorite character is Belle! I also really love Lumiere and Lefou. Ever since I was a little girl, I have admired Belle. And now as I get to play her nightly, I have fallen in love with her character even more. Belle is smart, witty, and longs for adventure, she also stands up for what is right, even if it’s not the most popular choice. She also is my favorite character because she differs from other Disney princesses in that she ends up saving others rather than being saved. She saves her father, the Beast and really everyone in the castle from dying under the spell. My director, Sam Scalamoni always says, “Belle is who I want to be when I grow up,” and well, I’d have to agree with him.
As for Lumiere and Lefou, they both provide such great comic relief, and their lines are written so well. Lumiere is that goofy character who is always getting into trouble, especially with the ladies, and he is the most life giving French character in the show. I think Lefou has some of the best physical comedy in the show and really embodies the silly sidekick of the big oaf, Gaston.
4. Costume design is always a big interest of mine in musicals. What can we expect in the wardrobe department?
The costume design is nothing short of extravagant in this show! As I said, Anne Hould Ward won a tony award for her costume design of Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast, and she also designed the same costumes for this tour. Everything down to the stitching details of flowers, is so beautifully done and the costumes come to the life the moment the lights come up on the provincial village. Crowd favorites are always Belle’s stunning yellow gown and of course the enchanted object’s ornate costumes. Anne’s design gives the illusion that the objects are slowly losing their humanity as the spell continues. So Lumiere’s hands are beginning to transform into candles and his hair drips wax. Cogsworth’s head and body begin to have dials and keys as he turns more into a clock. The first time I saw the show, the costumes were one of the most breathtaking parts!
5. How has it been working with the cast?
Working with the cast has been awesome! We have such a talented cast, crew and orchestra that it is a pleasure to come to work every night. The cast is also made of some of the nicest people and some of my closest friends. We spend a lot of time together so we sort of are like a family. We work together, live together, and play together, so as you can imagine, we get pretty close. I couldn’t ask for a better leading partner either, Dane Agostinis is a great acting partner and a dear friend.