If you aren’t already aware, tomorrow marks a kind of big occasion. The Disney classic film, Beauty and the Beast, opens in 3D for a limited time in theaters tomorrow, January 13th. (Are you going? I can’t wait to see it!! I might even bring my kids…) One of the things most significant to me about this film, aside from the beautifully told story, is the music and the magical voice of Belle.
When I found out a week ago that *I* would be speaking on the phone with BELLE, or rather, Paige O’Hara, the voice of Belle, I squealed like a kid. I have a niece who happens to be working on a theatrical production of Beauty and the Beast for her school musical this spring, so the timing was particularly meaningful.
In speaking with Ms. O’Hara, we learned that she had to audition for the role of Belle not once, not twice, but five times. She just had a feeling this was “her” role- and she was right- and while I’m sure the news of getting the part was an amazing moment for her, that news also arrived within a few days of her birthday and becoming engaged. That’s kind of an awesome week for anyone!!
It was such a neat thing, listening to the woman who’s voice has become a cultural icon- Paige O’Hara isn’t “just” Belle in the film- she’s also voiced Belle a few other times, but has also done soundtrack recordings and done voice work as Belle for toys and books and games. Children today, 20 years after the original release of Beauty and the Beast, still recognize- and adore her- as Belle and that, my friends, may not be what some folks think of as amazing, but to me, that’s all kinds of cool.
You can still find Paige performing- she’s on stage, sometimes on screen, she’s sung opera, became a Disney Legend this past year, and has been hired by Disney Fine Art (her work is beautiful) to do some paintings. She’s a multi-talented woman!
Read on to find out Belle’s favorite scene, her favorite song, what Paige would love to work on…and more! [click to continue…]