act out theater

The Act Out Theater Company cast rehearses choreography for the musical number, “Gaston.”

Tony-nominated actress Susan Egan will share her experiences, coaching and rehearsal tips with young actors to help them prepare for a tale as old as time.

Travis Wade, artistic director at Act Out Theater Company, said Egan will spend some time with the cast before the company’s first performance of “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” on December 1.

A graduate of Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, Wade said that Egan regularly shares her passion for theater and enjoys giving back to the community.

When Wade asked her to host the workshop this month, he said she immediately greed.

When the cast heard about Egan’s workshop, they were thrilled, Wade said.

Egan was the first actress to star as Belle in the Broadway debut of “Beauty and The Beast” in 1994, and her workshop would help provide rehearsal tips to the cast.

The private workshop will take place at the Act Out Theater Company this Saturday, Nov. 18. The workshop is for cast only, and will not be open to the public.

“I’m going to visit the cast, watch them rehearse, and give them feedback,” Egan said.

She said that she would watch a few of the rehearsal pieces, and hopes to give the cast insights to make choices that are more informed.

“Sometimes having an insider viewpoint can give you insight on how you play a role,” she said.

When asked about advice for an actress playing Belle’s character, Egan suggested that the actress place herself in Belle’s situation, and to express emotions as if she were Belle herself.

“Place herself where Belle is, she doesn’t have a mom, dad has been taken, what would you do in that situation?” she said.

Egan said authenticity is important in each performance.

“What makes each performance work, is that they’re pulling from themselves,” she said.

Auditions for “Beauty and The Beast, Jr.” started in September, with a record-setting number of 109 youngsters auditioning for a part in the production.

Wade said he double-cast the lead roles, with each of the lead characters performing in three shows.

“Beauty and the Beast Jr.” is the company’s second musical, with last year’s “ELF The Musical, Jr.” being the first.

According to Wade, the theater seats 140 people and every single show has sold out.

“Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” tells the classic story of Belle, a beautiful, intelligent, and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast. Trapped in a spell, the beast must learn to love to transform himself back to a prince. Unable to do so, and he will forever stay a beast.

“Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” is sponsored in part by the Port of Long Beach, the Arts Council for Long Beach, Revelation Films, Light and Life Christian Fellowship, and developer Michael F. Harrah.

Act Out Theatre Company offers tuition-free theatre and arts education to at-risk youth and traditionally under-served children in Long Beach.

“Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” plays from Dec. 1 to 3, and Dec. 8 to 10. Friday shows begin at 7 p.m, and Saturday shows begin at 3 p.m. All shows will be at the Light and Life Community Center at 3341 E. 59th St. Tickets are $7 each, and includes dessert.

To purchase tickets, visit or for more information call (323) 920-5069.

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