Sam Bailey talks Beauty & The Beast

“I actually make a great cup of tea.”

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast the musical is making its way to Dublin this December.

Before it arrives on Irish soil I got the chance to talk to one of its lead stars and TV personality, Sam Bailey about her role as Mrs Potts, the passing of the iconic Angela Lansbury and of course, is she looking forward to coming to Ireland?

How did you approach these roles with a fresh view, considering this after COVID as well and everything in between? 

I wanted to channel, the original Mrs. Potts, when playing the throne, you’ll probably see that today, I’m not going to say that I didn’t, because I want people to come in and watch the show and feel connection to the original so that they can be taken straight back to that. But I don’t want people to come in and go, she’s not really Mrs. Potts, so I’ve tried to channel as much as I can, who I think is the OG of Mrs. Potts is Angela Lansbury. So yeah, that’s the kind of tape that I took on it from the beginning was to try and to make sure that people recognise that character straightaway.

It must have been an emotional week for you hearing the passing.

Yes. It’s been. It’s been. It’s, it’s been a weird week, I think. I mean, because we hear a voice at the beginning of the show. And, you know, and we found out in the interval that she sat me away. So it was, it was tough. It really was. It was a lovely Wednesday, we dedicated the shows both shows to her and made an announcement before the show. So it was

Was that something you prepared or was that what Disney wanted?

They wanted us to do it but we would have done something anyway, I would have suggested doing something. But you know, she’s, she’s an absolute legend. And she and to fill those shoes, I think is quite an achievement in itself. I just hope she’s watching down to the crowd and if there wasn’t special before when you hear her voice at the beginning, it’s even more so now.

Has she had a particular impact on your lives over the years. Is there a movie that stood out or maybe Murder She Wrote?

I go home and Murder She Wrote music is playing. But I had a conversation about this. She has done so much stuff. If you have a look, the lot people just go Murder She Wrote, Mrs. Potts, but you look at some of the films and you know, Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

What a career that woman has had. So yeah,yes, it’s really nostalgic. And she was always that mother figure in the film.

And now it’s you in the mother role.

Yeah, it’s funny that just get me in the mother role.

Sam, if you were to go back in time, 10 years ago, and tell yourself that you are going to be on stage playing such an iconic role would you have believed it?

My life has taken a massive turn since you know being a prison officer 10 years ago to now  so yeah, it’s it’s it’s been a whirlwind over the last few years I’ve done many shows like Chicago so I’m lucky to be playing this role and this one has been my absolute favourite.

I kind of don’t want it to end. I feel like it’s a part of me now. And you know, I hope to do it again in the future. It’s just an amazing show to be part of the company as well.

And in terms of the audience, can you really feel the buzz off the kids? 

Yeah, they they get really excited.

When it’s kids, little kids, he’s like, you, when you come out to stage or you see a child there at Stage Door and they’re waiting to see Belle.

Yeah, you know, we’ve had a few kids get engaged. There’s a part in the show where little pink dress comes out of the wardrobes drawn and a little girl in the audience went ‘I have a pink dress just like that’!

 We do an amazing relaxed performance for people with learning disabilities and with autism, my son’s autistic so I’m a big advocate for that. And they’re amazing. I mean, we pretty much sell them out and it’s it’s really loud and it’s it’s the most amazing experience to see the sea of people that are enjoying ourselves and the carers that that really appreciate it as well you know.

Do you make a mean cup of tea?

I actually make a great cup of tea but I use two tea bags. Two teabags in each cup. I can’t wait to try Lyons and Barrys when I come to Ireland.

Are you looking forward to come to Dublin? 

Yeah, very much. I can’t wait. Dublin will be our last stop.

Yeah, that last week is gonna be a whirlwind of emotions. You know, it’s gonna be a great week, but at the same time, it’s the end of I mean, by that time it would been I’ve been in the show 18 months as the longest contract I’ve ever done. And it’s been hard. You know, I’ve been away from my kids and stuff. So yeah, it’s been it’s been an absolute whirlwind, but my goodness, we’re gonna party.

Beauty and the Beast comes to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre this December.

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