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


  1. Beautiful review.....I've known this "Belle" for many, many years, we love her and Yes, I am from Silver Lake! love you Emily ! Lynn

  2. Brava, Emily! You were wonderful here in Jacksonville, FL. I wish that they had not cut two songs from the show. "No Matter What" is such a sweet song/ moment for Belle and Maurice.