Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Q&A with Emily Behny

Last time, we met the Dane who plays the “Beast” and now it’s time for you to meet “Belle”: Emily Behny. She is one of the new cast members who recently joined our show, and I was able to take a few minutes of her time to chat with her about being a part of the show. Here’s what we talked about.

Beauty Blogger: Hey Emily, thanks for taking the time to chat. I guess I should start with where you got your start before acting. Where did you grow up?

Emily: I grew up in a little town: Silver Lake, IN. I lived in the same house my whole life.

Beauty Blogger: When did you know that you wanted to do musical theater?

Emily: There were two specific moments in my life when I knew I wanted to do nothing else but musical theatre. The first moment was during my first trip to New York, it was my senior year in high school and it was absolutely magical. I saw my first Broadway show: Wicked, and it happened to fall on my 18th birthday. The whole experience was breathtaking, I remember crying because it was so beautiful and I knew I wanted to be a part of that. The second moment was when I did my first professional job at Wagon Wheel Theatre. It was The Sound of Music and I was playing Liesl. It was my sophomore year in college and our opening week fell on finals week, needless to say my heart was definitely not on the academics. I did not want to be anywhere but that theatre. I loved everything about it: the smells, the small dressing rooms, the very talented cast, crew, and artistic team. I knew then that I had to pursue a life in musical theatre.

Beauty Blogger: And you’ve done just that. You must audition for many things, and have tons of stories. What was your audition process like for this show?

Emily: I first auditioned for Beauty and the Beast in October, it was an open call, and I was one of 300 girls who showed up that day. I remember thinking, I probably won't be seen and even if I was seen, how am I supposed to stick out? I think I was #191 and so I waited...and waited. To save time, they asked us to sing 8 bars instead of 16. I cut my song as best I could, went in, sang, and I cracked on the high note. Sam, the Associate Director, gave me a second chance. He told me to take a step back, and take a deep breath. He said, "I know you can hit that note." Thank God for that! After I sang, he asked me to come back and dance that afternoon. Yay! So, I returned for the dance call, along with 60 other girls and then at the end, Bob Cline pulled 4 of us aside and told us to come back the next day to read and sing for Belle. The next morning I went in and sang and read, wearing a blue dress of course. :) It went extremely well, but we were told they weren’t looking for replacements right away and in 6 to 12 weeks they would let us know. So, fast forward to January, I received an email asking if I could attend another callback, doing all of the Belle material. This just so happened to be the day before my wedding. Here's where things get really interesting. I went in, sang and read, and Sam worked with me, giving me some adjustments. I remember finishing the song "Home" and feeling like I had nailed it. Sam said, and I will never forget this, "now that was a home run." Then I was asked to come back the next day to sing for the musical director. I explained I was getting married but I'd love to come in anyways. They thought I was insane but I explained we were doing a courthouse wedding and it should be fine. I called my fiance and asked his thoughts and he gave me the ok, as long as I could make it to the courthouse in enough time for us to get married. So, next day, I was at the studio at 10 and then got married at 4. Now, that is an audition story! Needless to say, it was a very memorable wedding day and audition, especially since I landed the role. We went on our honeymoon to Jamaica for a week. During that week, I didn't know if I had gotten the part or not. But as soon as we were back in the States, I found out!

Beauty Blogger: That must have been an exciting week. So, you get back, and you find out that you will be playing “Belle”. Who is the first person you called when you found out that you were offered your role?

Emily: I think I called my mom first. I had just flown in to Miami from Jamaica with my new husband and I couldn't wait any longer. I checked my voicemails and one message was my agent saying I had been offered the role! I was ecstatic and called and texted anyone and everyone that was special to me in my life or had been apart of my journey somehow.

Beauty Blogger: Tell me about your rehearsal process.

Emily: I was so blessed to have an amazing rehearsal process. The new Gaston, the Beast, and I spent 6 days in New York together along with our Associate Director, Choreographer and Pianist, so we got to know each other during that time which has made our working relationships that much stronger. We basically learned the whole show in 5 days and reviewed everything on the 6th day, and rested on the 7th. Ha! Sam Scalomoni, our Associate Director has worked on the show for years and knew the show so well. He was teaching us the very specific moments and then allowing us personal creative freedom as well. Learning the whole show in 6 days was no easy feat, I had my moments of frustration and felt overhwhelmed, but Sam, Connor, and Nate were so patient. They were understanding and took the time to care for us as people first, which made for a lovely, nurturing rehearsal process. Once we got to LA, rehearsals continued with the dance captain and some of the cast; these rehearsals were for fine-tuning and were so helpful to do with actual people, instead of our imaginations. We also shadowed our characters in the show at night and then we finally made it to our put in, our one and only dress rehearsal before going in that night. This rehearsal is where everything definitely came together for me, and things have continued to become clearer and grow as we do more rehearsals for new people coming in.

Beauty Blogger: What a whirlwind. It must have been intense. Now that you’ve learned the show, and have been doing it for a few weeks, what part of the tour are you most excited about?

Emily: I am most excited about traveling and seeing parts of the country that I otherwise would not. I also am so excited to meet different audience members, from the little girls dressed in their Belle gowns to the couples on a date night, it is a joy to see their reactions!

Beauty Blogger: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?

Emily: I have so many favorite moments in the show; it is hard to choose one! I will share my top three though. Number 3 would have to be the waltz scene where I wear that beautiful yellow ball gown and teach the Beast to dance; this is also the scene where I have fallen in love with him. It is such a special, sweet moment that we share. Number 2 would be just before the waltz scene, when I am reading to him in the library, this is the first time that the Beast and I are equals, I finally see him as someone like myself, who struggles to fit in which leads our friendship into a more romantic relationship. It is a very special thing, especially when we touch hands for the first, extended amount of time. It’s also beautiful because Belle sees through the exterior and loves the Beast for his heart. :) And, number 1, (drumroll please), is when Belle sacrifices her own life and freedom to save that of her father’s. This is just one moment of the many, when we see the heroic qualities of Belle. She is selfless, compassionate, and loves so deeply that she would sacrifice her own well being to save someone else. We see it again when she saves the Beast. “Belle” is someone I desire to emulate. I only hope that I can learn to be that selfless and giving. She is whom I want to be when I grow up. :) Okay, one more, “Be Our Guest” is a favorite because it truly is a joy to be apart of. The cast is so fantastic. The dancing, singing and showmanship is stellar, not to mention the humor that Lumiere adds!

Beauty Blogger: “Be Our Guest” is one of my favorites too! Is there anything else that you’d like to say?

Emily: I have to say that I am truly blessed to be a part of this show. I was blessed to get this role, since it is one of my dream roles and it is my first role out of college. I have loved every part of this experience, even the dreaded 6:00 am bus calls. I thank God for this opportunity to be apart of such a wonderful show with such a moving love story. I cannot wait to see what this next year brings.

Thanks for taking time to chat Emily! Be sure to head out and see Emily when she visits your town. And be sure to check out our schedule on

Monday, April 18, 2011

Q&A with Dane Agostinis

Hello again to all of our readers out there! Happy Spring to everyone. Spring has sprung, which means new beginnings. We have many new and exciting things going on with our show. Over the next few weeks, we’ll introduce you to a few new Cast Members who have joined us. This week, you get to meet our new “Beast”: Dane Agostinis. Dane was nice enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions. Beauty Blogger: Hi Dane, thanks for joining us. I guess we should start at the beginning. Where did you grow up/ where are you from?
Dane: I was born in Tampa, FL and three months later moved to a town called Milton, WA. My mom's family is from Tampa and my dad's family all live in Vancouver, BC, Canada. So, we moved to the greater Seattle area to be close to my dad's family, and because my mom transferred jobs. Then, the day after my 9th birthday, we moved back to Tampa. I lived in Tampa till I was 18 and moved to NYC for college and have lived there since 2002, so I've spent a fourth of my life in 3 of the 4 corners of the US. Looks like I'll need to move to LA for the next 9 years! (And I'm thinking about it!!)

Beauty Blogger: Wow, that’s a lot of places. So during that time, when did you realize that you wanted to do musical theater?
Dane: I had dabbled in some child acting/modeling when I was a kid.
But I never knew I wanted to pursue it as a career until freshman year in high school. That year, the drama program put on a show called Blood Brothers. I had been to see plays before at the TBPAC (Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center) and Broadway when my mom and I would go to NYC, but something about this show flipped the switch in me and I was hooked! I auditioned for the next show sophomore year (because I didn't make the soccer team) and luckily got cast as a player in Pippin. That show will always hold a special place in my heart and I cannot wait till it gets revived on Broadway! Another huge factor in my wanting to become an actor, and something that I'm not ashamed to say, is when I first saw the show CATS at the TBPAC. For those who haven't seen the show, the cats all come out in the first number and dance down the aisles and interact with the audience a bit. Well, my mom's friend was working as an usher there and she scored a ticket for the aisle on the third row. I was the lucky one to use that seat and during the first song, Victoria, the cat in all white, came up to me and sat on my lap and "pawed" my hair and I knew from that moment on I'd be doing something in this field forever.

Beauty Blogger: So you were inspired by CATS, and now, years later, you’re in NY and you decide to audition for Beauty and the Beast. What was this audition process like?
Dane: If you ask most actors, they will tell you horror stories about auditions or their fear of them. I'm completely the opposite. I LOVE to audition. I just have an awesome time in them. Sure they are super important, but I tend to not let that worry me. I just go in knowing I'm able to play for the next few minutes with people that could lead to me playing for much longer with them in the future if things go well! This audition was just that way. There was also no pressure because I had heard that no one was leaving the tour and that the auditions were just for a backup file. This was in October and I went in and sang one of my favorite songs for a serious baritone role, “Where I Want To Be” from Chess. The associate director of the tour was there and called me back and after the callback he came up to me and said he really wanted me to bring the intensity I brought in the audition piece to the material they provided me from the show. He said, when I call you back, have it ready. So, since I was in the mindset that they weren't even looking for the role, I took his advice but didn't go crazy and obsess every day. It's a good thing too, because I didn't receive that callback till January of the next year! Then I went to a few callbacks and then got to the final ones and received very good feedback from the director and casting director. And then...I was told I should polish up for the final audition in front of the producers and everyone. I TOTALLY agreed. I was wearing a faded shirt that is now in a trash dump somewhere and just not put together. (I had just come back from vacationing in Canada and it was my first audition back, so I wasn't off vacation mode!) I took their advice and went to get a haircut, buy some clothes get better shoes from my closet and went back all in 3 hours! It was a good thing I did. I got the job and am on the beginning stretch of what is already proving to be an amazing experience.

Beauty Blogger: These days, getting a job is a big deal, especially for an actor for a tour as big as this one. It’s huge news. So, who is the first person you called when you found out that you were offered your role?
Dane: My mom, Karen. She has always been behind me for everything and especially in this career. This is by far the biggest role/job I've had so I couldn't wait to tell her! She also tends to ask many questions if I don't provide the info before, so I've learned just to tell her as soon as I know! Ha-ha love you, Mom!

Beauty Blogger: What part of the job are you most excited about?
Dane: Besides the work: (because I LOVE the work). Being the Beast is an amazing opportunity and I'm so grateful I have the chance to do this everyday. I'm very excited to travel the country and see places that I've never seen before. I'm very adaptable and can usually make the best of any situation, so the traveling gypsy life is a good fit for me! I'm also looking forward to performing for my friends and family all over the country and continent because some of them haven't seen me perform before. That's going to be very special to me.

Beauty Blogger: I’m sure your friends and family are as excited to see you in the show as you are to see them. But first, you had to learn the show. Why don’t you tell me about your rehearsal process.
Dane: Rehearsals started in New York a week before I was to fly out to LA with the new Belle and Gaston. We rehearsed at Chelsea Studios every day and it was a surreal and amazing experience to walk into that building knowing that I was already employed and wasn't going into a room full of countless hopefuls all vying for the same roles! Across the hallway was said auditioning and I'm so thankful I wasn't part of that! It was a madhouse! The rehearsals were great in NY because the Associate Director, Sam, is one of my most favorite directors I've ever worked with. He and I hit it off from the beginning and seemed to be on the same wavelength regarding the character and everything, so it was an absolute joy to work with him!
I was also very fortunate to be entering into this monster of a show/role with a brand new Belle. She and I were involved in a reading of a musical put on by the Associate Director of this show a week before the rehearsals for Beauty and the Beast started, so that served as the “getting to know you” period. Having her here with me and put into the show at the same time was invaluable! When we got to LA, things kicked into high gear!! We were rehearsing during the day, watching the show at night, meeting the cast, crew and musicians, going to fittings, basically doing everything to get ready for the show in two weeks’ time. The time we spent in NY was very beneficial because we basically learned the show there, and then all the other factors came into effect when it got closer to showtime. And, to open in LA the final weekend was the most wonderful experience so far! The buzz around town was definitely in the air and people were lining up down the block to get tickets. It also didn't hurt that Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Suri came to see our first show that Friday night either!

Beauty Blogger: LA was no doubt an exciting time. It’s been a few weeks since you started now. Do you have a favorite moment in the show yet?
Dane: It's constantly changing! But right now my favorite moment is the 2nd bedroom scene where I'm waiting for Belle to come to dinner! I get to flex some comedy chops and have an absolute blast doing it! Up to that point I'm nothing but scary and I can feel the audience relax a bit to me when I make them laugh. There are moments like that all over this show that I can let go and have fun and the library scene in the second act is quickly becoming a contender for favorite! It's the moment that Emily (Belle) and I can really connect. It's really rewarding to do that every night! She is such a gem of a person and I'm truly honored to have her as a partner!

Beauty Blogger: Is there anything else that you’d like to add, before we say goodbye?
Dane: There's plenty I'd like to say, but I'll give the eyes of our readers a break and just say this: I wish I had scenes with the other characters! I really want a scene for Lefou and Beast! I envision him getting sick of Gaston and finding my castle in the woods and hiding around living like a different object every other day. We'd become friends and it'd be hilarious. Andrew, our Lefou, is just wonderful and I'd love us to interact! It looks like Dane is settling in nicely. Dane mentioned Emily who has joined the tour playing “Belle”. We’ll be introducing her to you very soon, so keep checking back for updates. And don’t forget to keep checking for more news and schedule updates.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Get close to the "Beast" performer Dane Agostinis

Dane Agostinis "Beast" sat down with us in New York City to talk about NETworks Presentation of Disney's Beauty and the Beast national tour. For information about the show visit:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Meet Beauty and the Beast's Newest Cast Members!

We are pleased to welcome our newest cast members to Disney's Beauty and the Beast: Emily Behny (Belle), Dane Agostinis (Beast) and Logan W. Denninghoff (Gaston). Click on the link below to meet them!

For tickets and more information, please visit