Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the smash hit Broadway musical, is coming to Broadway San Jose. Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, this eye-popping spectacle has won the hearts of over 35 million people worldwide. This classic musical love story is filled with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes, and dazzling production numbers including “Be Our Guest” and the beloved title song, “Beauty and the Beast,” sung on this tour by Julia Louise Hosack who plays Mrs. Potts.
BroadwayWorld’s Linda Hodges caught up with Hosack and found out, among other things, that the magic of the show is still there for her even after 300+ performances! That interview follows.
Hi, Julia - thank you for doing this interview with BroadwayWorld San Francisco. I understand that you live in New York now, but that you are a San Jose bay area native. Welcome home!
Thank you! It is so wonderful to be back home in the Bay and performing in my hometown!
You have the plum role of Mrs. Potts, the castle cook who has been transformed into a teapot. I understand that you were the understudy for the role and then suddenly one night you were on. Was that nerve-wracking?
Of course! I think the first time any understudy goes on it’s at least a little nerve-racking. One can only do so much preparation, but it never feels real until you are thrown on stage. Unfortunately for me, my nerves manifested into huge crocodile tears. I think they scared a few cast mates, but once I had a good cry I was ready to rock.
Since then, do you ever experience stage fright?
I experience nerves during my first performance in a new role or when my family is in the audience. I can perform for thousands of people a night, but performing for my family is nerve-wracking. I will probably be nervous in San Jose just because it is my home town and I want to make the Bay Area proud.
How can your hometown not be proud that a San Jose Children’s Musical Theatre alum is living her dreams? And now you’re in New York. Who advised you on your journey? How did you know you were ready?
I'll never forget my voice teacher, Debra Lambert, telling me "I'm not going to send you to New York until you have your barrels loaded." Moving to New York was always the dream and I eventually saved up enough money and moved in the winter of 2008. I spent the next 10 months in voice and dance lessons and auditioning for every show I could.
When did your big break come?
In September of 2009 I auditioned for the national tour of Beauty and the Beast. It was the first day of auditions and I was number 315 out of 400 girls for that particular day. After a week of singing and dancing callbacks every day, I was cast!
How long have you been playing Mrs. Potts?
I started playing Mrs. Potts Friday, April 1, 2011 in Appleton, WI, but who's keeping track? When the company called to tell me my start date, I would tell people that it was a huge April Fool’s joke and I was never going to be Mrs. Potts. Thank goodness that's not true.
I have to ask - how hard is it to keep your "spout" arm at just the right angle?
Well, my left arm is significantly stronger than my right now. The costume does not help one bit, but after rehearsals and 300+ performances it has gotten much easier.
300+ performances – that’s a lot of suitcase packing and unpacking! Julia, I think I can guess but tell me, what’s your favorite scene?
The scene into "Beauty and the Beast" is so tender and magical – it’s by far my favorite. I am waiting in the wings to enter with Chip and every night I watch Emily, Belle, as she is revealed in the iconic gold dress. You can hear the audience gasp because she looks absolutely stunning. This is the moment all of the little girls in their Belle dresses have been patiently waiting for. It sets and compliments the tone for the song "Beauty and the Beast" which I am thrilled to sing.
After 300+ performances do you mean to say that it’s still a thrill?
Every single night. No matter what kind of day I have had, be it stressful or adventure-packed, when I get on stage I get to play with my fellow actors and joyfully tell this "tale as old as time." It is a dream I have had since I was a child, and it is an amazing feeling to do what you love for a career.