Jennifer comes to DTC’s Beauty and the Beast with a wealth of experience in community theatre, both local and abroad. She plays Madame de la Grande Bouche, a former renowned opera singer transformed into an enchanted wardrobe as a result of the spell put on the prince and the rest of his household. Jennifer was kind enough to answer some questions about her performing past, her excitement about the show, and why everyone should come see it!
Please tell us how long you have been performing in community theatre, and where and in what shows we may have seen you recently.
I’ve been performing in community theater since I was knee-high to an end-table. Well, to be strictly accurate, I did plays in school, musicals in college, and started doing community theater when I lived in England, where they call it AmDram – Amateur Dramatics – and take it very seriously, as they do all their leisure pursuits. My most challenging role over there was playing Mrs. Higgins in My Fair Lady – the only American in a cast of 40 Brits, I was playing the woman who taught Henry Higgins how to talk. I didn’t know I’d succeeded until one actor told me, “You know it’s very funny – when you’re on stage, you haven’t an accent at all!” We moved back to the States and I started doing shows with Montgomery Playhouse (including Mama Rose in Gypsy), and with a slight detour to Switzerland (where I played Dolly in Hello, Dolly and directed Follies) I’ve been doing it pretty much ever since. I’ve been seen in murder mysteries with A Taste For Murder Productions, various children’s productions with Theatre@CBT, A Grand Night for Singing for MC at the Arts Barn, and several musicals with RMT. My most recent theatrical endeavor was behind the scenes – I designed and built 18 th C. costumes for Silver Spring Stage’s Emilie: La Marquise du Chatalet Defends Her Life Tonight.
What is it about Madame de la Grande Bouche that makes you excited to play her? Do you see any of yourself in her?
I am utterly thrilled to be playing a piece of furniture who doesn’t move during the entire show! No, seriously, I love Madame de la Grande Bouche, she’s loud, larger than life, vain, a total diva. I have no idea why they cast me in the role.
What has been your favorite part of being in the cast so far?
The people are utterly wonderful. I have never been in such a large cast where everyone is delightful. I have many old friends in the show, but I’ve made many more almost instantly.
Do you have a favorite musical number in the show? Favorite character?
It’s hard to pick a favorite number… “Gaston” because of the choreography? “Be Our Guest” because it’s such a showstopper? I would have to admit that my favorite character (besides mine, of course, darling) is Gaston,because he’s just so AWFUL.
In her words, why would Madame de la Grande Bouche say that it is a great idea for people of all ages to come see Damascus Theatre Company’s Beauty and the Beast? But, Cherie – how could you think of missing a chance to see – and I quote – “The toast of Europe! The greatest star ever to grace the Stage!” – I hear the King himself will be there…