Love among the enchanted objects

We’ve all done it, idly flip through a show’s programme before it starts wondering who the cast members are thanking in their bios. No doubt there are a few long-suffering husbands or perhaps a number of missed girlfriends or maybe even a high school drama teacher or two, but I’ll go out on a limb and say it rarely points to someone else sharing the stage with them that very night. One of those rare moments is about to happen when Disney’s Beauty and the Beast rolls into town this week.

David Baur and Matt Kopec in the national touring productino of Beauty and the BeastDavid Baur (photo left) says he is having the time of his life right now playing everything from a villager, dancing flatware and even a gargoyle as part of the ensemble in this national touring production. And while seeing more of the continent than he ever imagined he would see in his lifetime and performing in his hometown of Cincinnati have been highlights, it all pales in comparison to having his fiancé Matt Kopec (photo right) as part of the cast.

“… [we] have been fortunate enough to work several professional jobs together from theme parks, cruise ships, to regional theatre and now this tour,” said Baur. “Sometimes the stars just happen to align and when they do it’s the most incredible feeling and it seems to happen when I least expect it to. I love that I get to share the stage with the man most important to me.”

More than just getting a chance to perform with his real-life partner though, Baur is excited to be part of this reboot that sees the original creative team tweaking the choreography, set and costumes.  But fans needn’t worry though he says, as none of the integrity of the original has been lost.

“What’s at the heart of our production is the universal story about love that audiences come to cherish in our live production of the movie,” said Baur at the suggestion audiences may somehow be getting something different than they expect from this makeover.

As a member of the show’s ensemble, Baur plays at multiple characters but his favourite is the role of the enchanted carpet in the infectiously fun and energetic Be Our Guest.

“You can’t be in theatre and not love showing off,” said Baur. “And if my bright red carpet costume doesn’t stand out enough, the tumbling and turning in the costume definitely will.”

Logan Denninghoff as Gaston and the national tour cast of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Photo by Joan Marcus
The national tour cast of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Photo by Joan Marcus.

A childhood fan of the 1991 animated movie that inspired this stage musical, Baur says that Beauty and the Beast was second only to another Disney animated heartthrob.

“I was the boy who grew admiring all that was Disney and hoping one day to meet the mouse himself,” he said. “But during my childhood Beauty and the Beast was the most viewed movie in my household next to Aladdin, because let’s be real here, Prince Ali was and still is one handsome guy.”

With his work on Beauty and the Beast coming to an end later this year, Baur says that while he doesn’t know what will come next in his professional life, a 2013 wedding is definitely in the plans. It’s not hard to imagine Beauty and the Beast‘s title song as their first dance.

Beauty and The Beast
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
8 – 12 February 2012

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. Tickets are available online.

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