Exclusive Q&A with Beauty and the Beast’s Erin Edelle

Based on the Academy Award-winning animated film, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast returned to the Orpheum Theatre last night after originating the national tour in Minneapolis in 1995.  We had the chance to sit down with the charming Erin Edelle, who plays Mrs. Potts in the touring production to learn about some of the magic (and challenges) of playing an enchanted teapot.

Erin Edelle as Mrs. Potts and Gabriel Reis as Chip – photo by Joan Marcus

Q. Playing Mrs. Potts, how did you approach taking on a storybook role? What did you do to make her your own?

A. It’s a role that I’ve always loved. I grew up with the movie- I was ten years old when it first came out – so I think I had this kinship toward it anyway.  I’ve always been someone who’s looked at as very motherly and very maternal so jumping into a role like this was very natural for me (aside from learning the accent and how to hold myself like a teapot). I’ve watched the movie only once, after we were in rehearsal, because I didn’t want to mimic Angela [Lansbury, who voice the character in the film], but I definitely want to pay tribute to her because what she did was so iconic. There are lines that people love and know so well that I want to deliver them as close to what she did as possible, but I still want to be true to myself. I’m a lot younger than her so I’m having a good time finding the balance between being a mother figure to the Beast and finding the truth in the character.

Q. What are the challenges of playing an enchanted object- a teapot?

A. The most challenging thing is figuring out the physicality of it. My left arm is the spout and I just hold it up. There is no support from the costume. There is one scene we refer to as the “second bedroom” when the Beast is yelling at Belle to come to dinner. That is probably a fifteen minute scene and I’m not allowed to drop my arm at all so it really starts to burn after awhile! Other than that, I don’t find anything too restricting, but that’s the biggest challenge for me.

Q. The title song, “Beauty and the Beast,” won an Oscar when the animated film was released. What is it like to perform this iconic song every night?

A. Surprisingly, it’s more nerve-wracking than I thought it would be because if I mess up…everyone knows. Not that any of us mess up, but if we were to I feel like I would get thrown under the bus the most because everyone knows every word to that song. At the same time it’s absolutely thrilling because I’m singing a song that, in my opinion, is perfect. I think it is just a perfectly written, simple song. It’s lovely, it’s beautiful and I love having the privilege of singing it to them every night.

Q. What do you think is the most magical moment in the show?

A. There is so much Disney magic in the show and it’s all technically spectacular, but for me one of the most magical moments of the show is the scene right after Beauty and the Beast where the Beast lets Belle go. There is something about the way the scene is written and particularly our Belle and Beast, Hilary Maiberger and Darick Pead. They just have this lovely truthfulness that’s magical for me. I also love to watch the Gaston number because I could never do that!

Q. If you could be any enchanted object, what would you be and why?

A. Oh man, that’s a hard one. Maybe some sort of kitchen object like a stove. An oven? Or maybe an old gramophone. Probably something either music or kitchen based. Strangely enough, maybe a teapot- a singing teapot. Who knows?

Want to be our guest?

This romantic and enchanting musical closes on Sunday, October 21, but tickets are still available – visit our site.

Student/Educator Rush tickets are also available for the following performances: Wednesday 10/17, Thursday 10/18 and Sunday evening 10/21. Policy: 1 ticket per valid ID; $25 per ticket; cash only; available only at the Orpheum Theatre Box Office beginning 2 hours prior to showtime; rush line forms outside of theatre; resale of rush tickets is strictly prohibited and all tickets are subject to availability.

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