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Toonzone Interviews Paige O’Hara & Robby Benson on Being "Beauty & the Beast"

by on October 7, 2010

As part of the publicity for the new re-release of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on Blu-ray, Toonzone News was able to interview the voice actors who portrayed the title characters: Paige O’Hara (Belle) and Robby Benson (the Beast) via an Internet video feed. Click the image below to begin playing the video, which runs approximately 12 minutes:

Debuting as Ellie May Chipley in the 1983 revival of Showboat, Paige O’Hara was a veteran of the New York stage when she was cast in 1991 as Belle, the plucky heroine of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. She has returned as Belle for DVDs, computer software titles, the Kingdom Hearts II video game, and countless toys and other Disney Princess merchandise. In addition to numerous turns as Ellie (including her performance on the Grammy-nominated recording of the musical in 1989), O’Hara’s other Broadway turns include starring as Fantine in Les Miserables, the title role in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Ado Annie in Oklahoma! She has also had turns as a concert soloist and as a solo recording artist, with her latest album Dream With Me featuring her singing the title song from Beauty and the Beast for the first time and a duet with “When You Wish Upon a Star” with another Disney Princess: Jodi Benson, who portrayed Ariel in The Little Mermaid. Be sure to check out Paige O’Hara’s official web site for her latest news.

A veteran of the stage and screen, Robby Benson was probably best known for his role as Nick Peterson in Ice Castles when he was cast as the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. In his four-decade-long career in show business, Benson earned renown with his roles in Ode to Billy Joe, The Chosen, and Harry and Son, as well as turns on Broadway in Zelda, The Rothschilds, and the Joseph Papp production of The Pirates of Penzance. His expansive resume also includes stints as a writer and director, doing both for Warner Bros’ One on One and directing over 100 sitcom episodes and pilots, including several episodes of Friends and an entire season of Ellen. Benson has also published a novel, Who Stole the Funny?, which made the Los Angeles TImes best-seller list, and is currently completing a new book I’m Not Dead…Yet! about his experiences managing a busy show business career while surviving four open heart surgeries for a congenital valve defect. To stay up to date on his latest news, check out Robby Benson’s official web site.

Toonzone News would like to thank Robby Benson and Paige O’Hara for taking the time to speak with us, as well as Mac McLean of Click Communications, Marilyn Hsiung of Disney PR, and Paul Nash of mOcean for arranging the interview time. Beauty and the Beast Diamond Edition is available now.

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