Photos: Tammi Tan
Additional photos: BASE Entertainment
Tale as old as time, true as it can be: two people meet at work, form a friendship, and fall in love.
That’s what happened to Hilary Maiberger and Darick Pead, the two lead actors from Beauty and the Beast the musical, which kicks off its first-ever Singapore run at Marina Bay Sands on 21 March. The couple, who have played Belle and the Beast respectively in the international tour for three years, got together sometime during the course of their 700 shows together.
“From the day we met at rehearsals, there was already a lot of chemistry and trust between us,” Hilary revealed in our interview with the pair yesterday afternoon. “We’re very comfortable with each other, and I’m grateful for that because it makes (our relationship) more believable on stage.”
“It’s important because the greatest and the hardest part is falling in love for the first time in front of an audience, so you have to make sure you maintain that,” said Darick.
For the handful of you in the dark, Beauty and the Beast is about a nasty prince who is turned into a monster, and must learn to love and earn the love of a sprightly young woman in order to break the spell. While the 250-year-old French fairy tale has spawned countless adaptations, the 1991 Disney animated version is arguably the most well-known.
And it is the cartoon that the Broadway production, which ran for over 13 years, is based on, complete with the familiar servants-turned-household objects like Lumière the candlestick and Cogsworth the clock, as well as beloved songs like ‘Be Our Guest’ and of course, ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The creative team behind the original long-running musical is the same one behind this international tour.
Theatregoers will also get to enjoy new tracks that weren’t included in the animated flick, such as Belle’s solo ‘A Change in Me’ – a scene Darick could not stop praising during our chat and the Q&A session later in the evening, which took place after a simple preview of two songs from the showcase.
“It’s seriously one of the most amazing things,” he gushed. “Hilary is an amazing singer and performer, but on top of that, she’s supported by this beautiful set that captures the moment of how she’s feeling.”
That wasn’t the only time he snuck in a sweet comment about his co-star. Read on for more from our conversation with Hilary and Darick:
You’ve been in this musical for three years. Are you getting tired of it?
Darick: No, we never do.
Hilary: The audience is what keeps it fresh and gives us a new experience every single night. Sometimes it can be physically taxing, but I just get a good night’s sleep and then I feel great the next day.
What’s your favourite part of the play?
Darick: When the Beast is getting ready for dinner with Belle, which goes on to the next scene in which they’re dancing, and then follows up by showing how the Beast has learned how to love. I love these three scenes because they capture everything that everybody’s been waiting for: them finally falling in love.
Hilary: I love watching ‘Be Our Guest’. There’s so much cool stuff going on, from the costume changes to the choreography to the champagne bottles to the confetti… it’s so exciting! I also love a scene where Belle is teaching the Beast how to read in the library; it’s a very powerful moment when she realises that they’re really not that different.
What are some memorable moments you have from performing this show all these years?
Hilary: I took a pretty hard tumble once. It was mortifying!
Darick: That’s what’s so great about live theatre – anything can happen!
Hilary: The kids reacting is really fun, too. Sometimes they’ll say “Hey, Belle!” in the middle of a dead silence, and I can’t say “Hi!” back to them even though I want to, because we have to stay in character.
When do you feel most beautiful?
Darick: When I see joy in others and it feels like I had something to do with it. It’s just a very satisfying feeling to be able to see someone be happy because of something that I tried to do for them.
Hilary: This is hard…
Darick: This is (a hard question) for someone who’s always beautiful. [Ed note: Awww…]
Hilary: I love making people laugh because it makes me feel good about myself. I like being there for people, and I think that makes me a beautiful person.
What’s your beastly side?
Darick: I feel like a beast when I make somebody upset or when I’m mean, which I can be sometimes.
Hilary: I have no patience, so that’s when I feel the most beastly. I need to learn to have more patience and just let things slide.
Have you ever had to go on stage while you were mad at each other?
Darick: That never happens.
Hilary: We’re best friends and we have disagreements, but he’s a very good communicator, and if there’s an issue, we make sure we leave everything off stage and when it’s time to work, it’s time to work.
Darick: That’s my favourite part of our relationship – we started off as friends, and we’re still friends.
Hilary: There’s so much trust there, which isn’t something you find every day. I completely trust him, whether we’re on stage or off, and it’s very comforting.
Hilary, you’ve played Cinderella and Jasmine (from Aladdin) in other musicals. Which Disney princess do you feel closest to?
I’ll have to say Belle, and it’s not because I play her! There’s just so much realness and honesty to the role that you don’t find a lot in a cartoon, and she’s so relatable: I used to be that awkward 16-year-old girl trying to figure herself out, and I’d like to think that I’m as strong and independent as she is.
Which Disney prince do you think Darick is most like?
Hilary: I would say, Kristoff from Frozen or Flynn Rider from Tangled, because he’s like the funny, quirky guy who’s always cracking jokes and making people laugh.
Which Disney prince and princess did you have a crush on?
Hilary: John Smith from Pocahontas, definitely. He’s just so rugged and really good-looking for a cartoon. (laughs)
Darick: She’s not a princess, but I like Megara from Hercules because she’s sassy.
What’s your dream next project?
Hilary: I would love to play Christine Daaé from The Phantom of the Opera.
Darick: I would love to be in Jersey Boys, and I’ve always wanted to be Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha. [What about the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera?] I don’t know… I’m nervous about not having the voice for it because it’s a pretty demanding role, but it’d be fun.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast International Tour in Singapore details
Dates: 21 March to 19 April
Times: 8pm (Tue-Fri), 2pm & 8pm (Sat), 1pm & 6pm (Sun)
Venue: Grand Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands