Beauty and the Beast star hopes to do Angela Lansbury proud on stage in Dublin next month


One of the stars of Beauty and the Beast hopes to do the late Angela Lansbury proud when the musical comes to Dublin next month.

am Bailey, who won the X-Factor back in 2013, plays Mrs Potts, the iconic role first made famous by the Murder She Wrote actress who died last week aged 96.

After a year and a half in the role, Sam will be saying a bittersweet goodbye when the show finishes up in Dublin.

“I wanted to channel the original Mrs Potts. I want people to feel a connection where it takes them back to Angela Lansbury,” Ms Bailey said.

“I want people to recognize that character straight away. We hear her voice at the beginning of the show, it’s tough.

“We’re flying the flag for her. She’s an absolute legend and to fill those shoes is quite an achievement.

“I hope she’s watching down and I’m doing her proud. What a career that woman had. We’re lucky to have had her in our show.”

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Angela Lansbury played the original Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast

The romantic tale first opened on Broadway in April 1994 and garnered nine Tony nominations and one win. It played for more than 13 years, making it one of the top ten longest-running shows in Broadway history.

Re-imagined and re-designed using state-of-the-art theatrical wizardry, the show has been on the road for 18 months, with Dublin scheduled to be the last stop on the current run.

“My life has taken a massive turn since being a prison officer ten years ago. From prison officer to teapot, you couldn’t make it up really,” Ms Bailey said.

“It’s been a whirlwind. I’ve done many shows like Chicago, Fat Friends and 42nd Street, but this role is my absolute favorite.

“I don’t want it to end. It’s a part of me now and it’s amazing to be a part of. I can’t wait for Dublin. The last week will be a whirlwind of emotions.

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Sam Bailey will finish up in Dublin after 18 months with the show

“It’ll be a great week, but it will be the end of it. At that time, I would be in the show for 18 months, it’s the longest contract I’ve ever done.

“It’s been hard, I’ve been away from my kids but my goodness, we’re going to party in Dublin,” she added.

The production is set to be a feast for Irish audiences of all ages.

“When it’s little kids at the stage door, you see one waiting for Belle. For me, I’ll say hello, but they don’t really want to know me,” Ms Bailey said. “It’s the mums and dads who’ve seen me on X-Factor.

“We’ve had adults proposing at the show, we get hen-dos dressed up as princesses. The kids are so engaged, they shout up, but I take it as a compliment.

“We do an amazing, relaxed performance for people with learning disabilities and autism. My son has autism, so I’m a big advocate for that,” she added.

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Courtney Stapleton as Belle and Shaq Taylor as Beast in Beauty and the Beast

Alyn Hawke, who plays Lumiere in the show, described the production as a “Disneyland experience”.

“The show is so vast and epic, the costumes are beautiful. It’s Disney imagination going into a stage production. The fact Lumiere has real fire coming out of his hands, it’s amazing.

“There’s a really special moment and the reaction is the same every single evening, when Belle is revealed in her big gold gown.

“Even now, I still get shivers because you hear the audience gasp. Looking out, you can always see so many kids in costumes and I see the dress through their eyes.”

Beauty and the Beast will have its Irish premiere on November 24, running until January 8 at the Bord Gáis Energy Theater.

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