January 29, 2016 by Bhavya Sharma
The national tour of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” will perform in Philadelphia Feb. 16-21 at the Kimmel Center’s Academy of Music. As described on the Center’s website, the musical “tells the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress”. This production will star Sam Hartley as the Beast and Brooke Quintana as Belle. Featuring all of the songs from the original movie, fans will also be treated with additional numbers from Alan Menken and Tim Rice.
The Triangle was able to speak with Kevin Kulp, who plays a townsperson (and later, an enchanted object) in the musical. Kulp, a Philadelphia native, travelled and performed with the Philadelphia Boys Choir for four years. He is a graduate of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, and has performed in “Miss Saigon” and “The King and I” with the Walnut Street Theatre.
The Triangle: How did your journey to theater begin?
Kevin Kulp: I started in the Philadelphia Boys Choir when I was about nine years old. It was then that I fell in love with singing and performing. My parents were always very supportive of my interest in theater. My older brother, Steve Colt, actually graduated from Drexel and then went to Drexel Law School. He was involved with the Philadelphia Boys Choir. Because of my brother being a pioneer on that front, my parents were very supportive, and that started the journey to theater. I knew this was what I wanted to do as a career.
TT: What is different about this adaptation of the classic fairytale?
KK: Well, they have added brand new songs. The story is the same but the dance numbers and songs make it different than the movie. It is two hours and 30 minutes, so it is definitely longer than the movie. It is a movie transformed into a musical, and that is what makes it entertaining.
TT: Beauty and the Beast is touring in different cities like Jackson, Atlanta, etc. How do you keep the show fresh for the audience?
KK: Most of what we do on stage becomes fresh because of the energy that we get from every city that we go to. Since we are performing in smaller cities where people might not always go to see a Broadway musical in New York City, people get really excited to see a classic being brought to stage. We also rehearse for hours and perform naturally on stage. This is what keeps the show fresh.
TT: Do you have any dream roles that you would like to play?
KK: I would love to do Wicked! I think the role of Boq is someone I would love to play! One of my favorite musicals is Company, which is a Steven Sondheim musical. I would love to do that as well.
TT: Finally, what advice would you give to students who want to pursue theater as a career?
KK: I would say that you have to put all your effort into pursuing this profession. You might get a hundred no’s, but it is the one yes that counts. This business is tough. I faced a lot of rejection. In college, I went to a lot of auditions but I did not necessarily hear back. The key is to stay motivated. I knew this is what I wanted to do and I stuck with it with all my determination.