- Amy Parkinson Interviews Gavin Lee who plays Lumière (Candlestick) in the new tour of Beauty and the Beast which arrives on Thursday 31st March 2022 as part of a five-date tour around the UK. Gavin have you ever been to Manchester before?
Yes, I have been to Manchester before to the Palace theatre in 1996 starring in ‘Crazy for you’ this was the first national tour of this musical. It felt so long ago. I don’t remember much we were there for ten weeks. I am really excited about Beauty and the Beast the cast and I can’t wait to explore the city bringing a fabulous show and selling out everything. I know it has changed a lot since I was there previously.
- Congratulations on getting the part of Lumière (Candle stick) in Beauty and the Beast how was the audition process for you?
I have a long history of working with the Disney Team. I played the original Bert in Mary Poppins on Broadway I did this show for eight years in the United Kingdom and around America with Disney, I have a great relationship with them.
Concerning Beauty and the Beast, I wrote to the head of Disney of theatrical I had a brief audition in New York with the director about the musical.
Due to the lockdown, I jumped at the chance of this role touring all the great cities in England hopefully maybe going to America, very happy to be part of the Disney family again.
- Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991 is the stage adaptation the same as the original film?
The stage adaptation started on Broadway and went to the Westend, Disney theatrical thought it had been well over a decade since it closed on Broadway and Disney decided to bring it back again.
However, this time they have made it completely new we have all the original creative team. I am amazed the same creative were able to ignore everything they had previously done on the old tour. The musical is completely different now fresh and new.
- Tell us about your character?
Yes Lumière, a little scary creating a role on stage they know what the character is already. These roles which have already been done by someone else it’s a balance between giving the audiences what they want and putting your own stamp on it. Lumière is French and a flamboyant character.
- The original character speaks with a French accent, do you?
Yes, I can already do a French accent, Disney gave me a dialect coach in the rehearsals which helped me fine-tune my accent.
- Tell us about the other cast members who do you enjoy working with?
Nigel is my partner in crime we have fantastic banter on stage, he is fabulous, and I spend time with him off stage too. Going to visit National Trust sites. I also spent time with Mrs. Potts played by Sam Bailey she has a very powerful voice R&B voice. Of course, we all know her from winning the X Factor in 2013.
She is fabulous as Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast she plays a mother role, a lovable teapot. She is glorious is the role.
Angela Lansbury, I met her at Mary Poppins. She is our narrator on Beauty and the Beast it’s the first voice the audience hears as the show starts. We have life-size cut-out cardboard of her on tour and we often say hi and take photos with her. She is doing a recorded piece for our show.
I feel lucky to be with such lovely people. We are so grateful to be out of lockdown and into this show. We know that audiences want to see this show and we are selling out everywhere we go.
- Tell us about your relationship with Cogsworth (Clock) played by Nigel Richards they make quite a duo!
We wind each other up plenty of laughs to be had. A lot of heart with these characters, very high stakes for us. If belle doesn’t fall in love with the beast we are in trouble! “Human Again” is a song about dreaming about us becoming human again. So much hope for us. Getting the back story of the character is important, making the audience feel what we are feeling about getting Belle and the Beast together.
I am particularly excited about one of the biggest songs in the musical which I perform “Be our Guest” which I am a tap-dancing candlestick.
- Tell us about your costume
Anne the designer went back to the drawing board she wanted the costumes to be different this time. A human being who looks like a candlestick as much as possible; however still be able to move because I am tap dancing. I actually look like a candlestick; I have real flames attached to my hands which can be temperamental, the gimmick of having flames does look spectacular to the audience.
- Any magic moments in the story for the kids?
We always get asked after a show. ‘How do they do that? It ‘Disney Magic’ we reply
There is a frightening bit where Bella and the Beast both go into the forest where they get attacked by the wolves. The music and the lighting are pretty scary in a good way though from an audience’s point of view.
We also have nice scenes with four of our child actors (Theo Quaerico, Manasseh Mapira, Lesa Miller, and Rojae Simpson) who all share the role of Chip the Cup. Some nice illusions for the audience to see.
The Beast transformation at the end and fly’s is magical is one of the highlights of the show.
- Tell us why this musical is unmissable this tour?
It’s new fresh and different. The original production ran for twelve years on and it’s also one of Disney’s highest-grossing films of all time. Coming out of lockdown the audience wants to make the time they have a good time. You know what you’re getting, it’s a new reimagined version of the stage show.
We always have a standing ovation at the show. Always sold-out shows, it’s a really popular show. Be quick and book early.
Thank you, Gavin, it’s been a pleasure to talk to you, good luck with the show we will see you on the 6th of April.
Beauty and the Beast arrives at the Palace Theatre on Thursday 31st March until Saturday 4th June 2022
This will sell out