What a Beauty!!
Rena Strober..who is the lovely Belle had this to share with us....
I grew up in Goshen, NY, very close to Westchester Bwy! I loved being in the country and getting to drive into NYC to see shows. My parents put me into dance class when I was 4 and sent me to the famous theatre camp, Stagedoor Manor from age 11-16. Needless to say, they've always supported my choice to be a performer. I have 2 older brothers, one who's a director/writer and the other is a lawyer. We're all really close. I've always felt the most comfortable on the stage telling stories through song and dance. I'll always remember my first Broadway show, Peter Pan. Ever since, I've always wanted to fly in a show...I"m still waiting to play Peter :)
I was always a big fan of Bernadette Peters, Bette Midler, I guess anyone with lots of big curly hair. I was also greatly influenced by the greats such as Danny Kaye, Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers. Their grace, humor and ability to do it all made me work hard and live to tell love stories.
I'm a GIRL!!! Of course I watched every Disney movie! I always loved Cinderella and the fat mouse, Gus. I was never a fan of Snow White because of the dated ideas of women. I always loved An American Tale and of course, Beauty & The Beast. One of my first crushes was Robbie Benson who voiced the Beast. He was also in Ice Castles :)
This has always been a role I've dreamed of playing. I've auditioned for the Broadway production about 6 times and it has never happened for me. I'm thrilled that my 1st production is with this incredible cast and with Richard. You have a lot more freedom to explore the character and story in regional productions than on Broadway. Preparing for this role so far has been just to memorize my lines and be ready to open in 10 days!! But as I learn my lines and blocking, I'm able to start having fun. I get to look back at the time when I was very much like Belle...although I still am. I'm so lucky to bring out the part of me that loves her independence, courage, family, adventure and of course, happy endings.
Is it challenging bringing a beloved cartoon character to life? Hmm, tough question! I guess, I would say yes because so many people see her one way, the way she was drawn and voiced in the film. Many young girls simply want to see that Belle on the stage. However, the script is so well written and the music so glorious that it's not that challenging to really bring her to life.
Well, when I put on the big yellow dress I almost cried. There I was, this girl from upstate, standing there looking like the Princess I always loved in the story. I'm also sure that once I see the beast's makeup, it'll make Joe that much more scary.
My 5 year old nephew is so excited to come see Auntie Rena on stage playing Belle. He's been watching the movie all month.
For the past few months, every moment I'm not on stage or rehearsing, I've been in the studio recording my upcoming debut CD. I'm really excited about it! Other than working hard on other projects, I love spending time with my awesome nephews in Nyack, window shopping and playing with friends’ dogs.