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'Beauty and the Beast' aims to dazzle Gammage stage

October 11, 2010

The acclaimed musical “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” is coming to ASU Gammage Oct. 19 through Oct. 24. With an award-winning cast, lavish sets and costumes, and world-famous song and dance numbers that include “Be Our Guest” and “Beauty and the Beast,” the show aims to dazzle – especially those aged 12 and under.

Playing the role of “Mrs. Potts” is Sabina Petra, a Netherlands native who lives in New York (when she is not on a national tour). At the age of 29, Petra recalls being 10 years old when the Disney animated film “Beauty and the Beast” was released in theaters – ushering the traditional French fairy tale into Hollywood fame.

“I remember going to the movie with my dad,” Petra said. “We had one big cinema in our town, but there were so many people who wanted to see the movie that they had to put extra chairs in the theater. Yes, I remember it very well.”

After touring with the Dutch production of “Beauty and the Beast” around the Netherlands – which Petra said is about the size of Delaware, thus enabling her to sleep in her own bed each night – she moved to the United States and began the “Beauty and the Beast” U.S. tour which will take her across the country and back, including a stop in Honolulu.

“The audience here is very different,” said Petra, who discussed the key differences she has observed between American audiences and European audiences in her bi-continental touring. “They [American audiences] come to the theater willing to believe and be swept away; they are very giving, and that energy is given right back to us as performers.  That is the biggest thing I love about the American audience.”

On this U.S. tour Petra has been applauded by critics for her pitch-perfect delivery of the show’s iconic tune, “Beauty and the Beast.” Petra said that when the song begins, as “Belle” and “the Beast” are dancing, the audience tends to sit up a little straighter.

“I want to do it well every time,” she said. “It means so much, this song, to so many people. I really want to do justice to it. And it never gets old. It’s such a beautiful song. It’s my favorite part of the show.”

For more information on the show, or to buy tickets, visit the ASU Gammage Box Office or call 480-965-3434.