A BEAUTY WHO'S BELLE OF THE BALL : N.Y. UNDERSTUDY JOINS `B&B' JUST IN TIME FOR ONE-YEAR PARTY.
Byline: Janet Weeks Daily News Staff Writer
Understudying the role of Belle in the Broadway production of ``Beauty and the Beast Beauty and the Beast is a traditional fairy tale (type 425C -- search for a lost husband -- in the Aarne-Thompson classification). The first published version of the fairy tale was a meandering rendition by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, published in ,'' Yvette Lawrence spent three months hanging out back stage, appearing in front of the audience only briefly most nights as a singing and dancing broom.
But her voice, pluck and presence apparently swept producers off their feet, and when the role of Belle opened in Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. recently, Lawrence got the call.
She arrived just in time for some big-time partying among the Shubert Theatre The Shubert Theatre is the name for several current and former theatrical venues:
Currently named Shubert Theatre:
And the extravagant $13 million Disney musical, which already has been seen by some 700,000 people, shows no signs of slowing down. This past December, nine months after opening, the show broke the all-time, one-day box-office record in Los Angeles previously held by Andrew Lloyd Webber's ``Phantom of the Opera.''
It also broke the Shubert Theatre's weekly box-office record, grossing $1.27 million during the week that ended on Christmas Eve.
Disney officials estimate that by early September, the show will have reached an audience of 1 million. It recently won four Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, including outstanding production, and three Theatre LA Ovation Awards Established in 1989, the Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Awards are a major Southern California award for excellence in theatre with is held each November. The Ovation Awards are the only peer-judged theatre awards in Los Angeles. Called the "... .
Lawrence has the unenviable task of replacing Susan Egan Susan Egan (b. February 18, 1970) is an American actress and singer best known for her work on the Broadway stage. An unknown at the time, she won the coveted role of Belle in the original Broadway cast of Beauty and the Beast. , who originated Belle on Broadway and moved to the Los Angeles show in April 1995. After three years of the same role, Egan let her contract expire to pursue other interests.
Indeed, Lawrence said she worried about replacing a woman who created such a strong image of the young heroine.
But she decided to make the role her own, a decision which has apparently paid off. On her debut night earlier this month, audiences gave Lawrence a standing ovation.
``You can't do anything anyone else was doing because we're all individuals. (Egan) is wonderful, but I'm very different from her. My singing voice is different.
``They hired me because I'm me. I've never felt any pressure to be her.''
Many in the Shubert's cast were with the show on Broadway and throughout its one-year run here, including Tom Bosley Thomas Edward Bosley (born October 1, 1927) is an Emmy-nominated and Tony Award winning American actor, best known on-stage for his work in Fiorello!, and for his starring and supporting roles on television shows like Happy Days, Murder, She Wrote , who plays Belle's father, and Gary Beach Gary Beach is a Tony Award-winning American actor, primarily in Broadway musical theatre. Biography
He was born on October 10, 1947 in Alexandria, Virginia, and is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, the same school as Terrence Mann, his , who plays Lumiere.
Lawrence said they have welcomed her warmly to the Shubert, appreciating her ``new energy.''
``At first when I got here, I thought, `Oh my god. They've been used to one person for so long.' But they were so incredible, so accepting.''
Although new to the show, Lawrence is no stranger to theater.
She played Cordelia, a lesbian kosher caterer in the touring production of ``Falsettos,'' and Linda from Liverpool in the Broadway production of ``Blood Brothers,'' which starred Petula Clark Petula Clark, CBE (born 15 November 1932), is an English singer, actress and composer best known for her upbeat popular international hits of the 1960s. With more than 70 million records sold worldwide, she is the most successful British female solo recording artist and is cited as and David Cassidy This article is about David Cassidy the actor. For David Cassidy the footballer, see David Cassidy (footballer).
David Bruce Cassidy (born April 12, 1950) is an American actor, singer and guitarist. .
Her very first Broadway show was the doomed ``Nick and Nora,'' which closed after one week.
After that disappointment, she turned to television, and appeared for eight months on the soap opera ``One Life to Live'' as police Sgt. Maggie Vega.
``I was the most untough cop,'' she said. ``I dropped my gun. I wore a skirt. My hair was always down. The makeup was perfect.''
The soap experience was comical, she said, sort of like the madcap movie ``Soapdish.''
``I had a good time. I got to seduce a minister my second day on the show. I got suspended from the force for not naming homosexual officers. Then they promoted me to lieutenant and I was written out.''
Lawrence has signed a one-year contract with ``Beauty'' and moved to Studio City with her black lab/shepherd mix named Audrey (she's also keeping a place in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of ).
She said she hopes she can keep the production a fresh experience. Her previous longest run with a show was nine months with ``Blood Brothers.''
``Every audience is different,'' she said. ``You just have to have fun. That's part of the joy of theater.''
Creating this production a `Beast' of a challenge
At a start-up cost of $13 million, Disney's ``Beauty and the Beast'' at the Shubert Theatre is a major extravaganza. Some facts about the show:
Gary Beach, who plays Lumiere, uses 4 pounds of liquid butane butane (by`tān), C4H10, gaseous alkane, a hydrocarbon that is obtained from natural gas or by refining petroleum. fuel per month to fire up his flaming candelabra arms.
There are 37 other pyrotechnical py·ro·tech·nic also py·ro·tech·ni·cal
1. Of or relating to fireworks.
2. pyrotechnic Resembling fireworks; brilliant: a pyrotechnic wit; pyrotechnic keyboard virtuosity. and special-effects stunts in the show, including an Enchantress' fireball fireball, very bright meteor leaving a trail in the sky that can remain visible for several minutes; often a distinct sound, perhaps caused by very low frequency radio waves, is associated with it. , a hand-held ball of flames that took 1-1/2 years to develop.
Characters wear more than 140 wigs during the course of the show. The Beast's hairpiece took 20 pounds of human hair and 400 hours of manual labor to create. His tail took another 7 yards of hair to make.
The enchanted en·chant
tr.v. en·chant·ed, en·chant·ing, en·chants
1. To cast a spell over; bewitch.
2. To attract and delight; entrance. See Synonyms at charm. objects residing in the Beast's castle were made with 2,000 pounds of plaster and 1,000 pounds of clay.
Connecting the 600 lights used in the show (which produce 1.2 million watts - approximately the same amount of light used in a football stadium) takes three miles of cable.
SOURCE: - Janet Weeks THE FACTS What: ``Disney's Beauty and the Beast.''
Where: Shubert Theatre, 2020 Avenue of the Stars, Century City.
When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays; indefinitely.
Tickets: $25 to $65, available by calling (800) 872-8997.
Photo: ``Every audience is different,'' says Yvette La wrence, backstage at ``Beauty and the Beast'' with her pooch, Audrey. ``You just have to have fun. That's part of the joy of theater.''
Jeremy Greene/Special to the Daily News
Box: Creating this production a `Beast' of a challenge (See Text)