JAMES BEAMAN OPENS FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 9 AS HENRI LABISSE IN "VICTOR/VICTORIA" AT STAGES ST. LOUIS!
We are launching into tech week here in St. Louis as we prepare to open Stages' ambitious and glitzy production of "Victor/Victoria," the jewel in the crown of their 25th Anniversary season. I must say, the rehearsal process has been a great pleasure; director Michael Hamilton's meticulous approach has yielded a show that already has polish and great style. Adding the costumes, lights, scenery and other elements will take us all to that next level. They have pulled out all the stops at the theatre to make this a lavish and opulent production, stretching the limits of the intimate space to the maximum to create the art deco world of 1934 Paris. For a sneak peek at rehearsals and a look at some of the designs, visit the Stages St. Louis website and click on the video in the lower right corner of the main page.
I am greatly enjoying my role as the conniving weasel, Henri Labisse. Inspired by the comic masterpieces of creator Blake Edwards, I am doing more than a little homage to Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau, with a French accent thicker than gruyere cheese! Labisse gets his comeuppance for trying to foil the plans of Victoria and her fairy godfather Toddy by getting completely beat up during the course of the show. By the time the finale rolls around, I have two bandaged hands, a broken nose, a limp, and a head bandage. Being the one genuinely sour note in a show full of sweetness and glamour is a real treat and I'm having lots of fun. In case you don't remember Labisse from the film of "Victor/Victoria," here is a link to the scene in which Julie Andrews auditions for him at Chez Lui. Labisse is played here by veteran character actor and Blake Edwards favorite Peter Arne.
Reviews and production photos to come! "Victor/Victoria," which is already selling like mad, runs through October 9.