By Christine Gruenbauer, Dec. 1, 2018
Alicia D’Ariano is a familiar face to London community theatre lovers, recently playing Jubilee in “Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens” by LINK Theatre.
D’Ariano is currently playing Belle in London Community Players production of “Beauty and the Beast,” onstage at the Palace Theatre now until December 9th.
I recently caught up with D’Ariano to ask her a few questions about her experience in community theatre and her path to Belle…
1) You’ve been involved in a lot of community theatre in London. How did this experience of “Beauty and the Beast” differ from your other roles?
This artistic team were highly organized, and that was a treat to work with. The show and the role are so iconic, you want to do it justice, so I worked very hard on the songs and character. I wanted to be the Disney princess that everyone wants to see from Belle. I hope that people feel nostalgia when watching this show. It truly is magical.
2) Throughout the show, Belle is searching for adventure in the great wide somewhere. Do you feel like your own travels have influenced the way you portray her in this show?
You know, I am very much like Belle in that sense, I am always looking for an adventure. And I have in fact travelled the world quite a bit. Maybe not so much the travels that helped me portray Belle, but that sense and drive of wanting an adventure and seeing the world is something we have in common! And that feeling helped me portray that in the show.
3) What is your favourite Disney movie (that isn’t Beauty and the Beast!)? Why?
Oh man, that’s a tough one. I seem to flip-flop back and forth between “Mulan” and “Lion King.”
Both have incredible music, which draws me in. But their storylines are great. “Mulan” is a strong female lead, like Belle, and defies her cultural expectations which is so cool. She has this awesome character arc from unsure, clumsy girl to a strong, confident woman. And Mushu is there to add the humour, which I love. Then, on the other hand, there is “Lion King” – my goodness, what is there not to love about that one. I have forever been a fan. I love all the fun characters in it like Rafiki, Timon and Pumbaa! It’s just such a classic.
4) Tell me about your path to performing. What was your earliest role? Your most challenging?
My passion for singing and performing has been there since I was little. It all started when my parents put me in the Original Kids Theatre Camp when I was 8 years old. I had all this energy and the drive to perform, so what better way to use that then on stage? I absolutely loved it and was introduced to their main company from there.
I believe my first role with that company was the Cheshire Cat in “Alice’s Adventures.” At the time, I did competitive gymnastics, so my back-handsprings and flexibility were always put to good use in Original Kids shows! I stayed with Original Kids for many years and did countless shows from “Cinderella” to “Working” to “Footloose” to “The Wizard of Oz,” the list goes on.
I was a member until I was in grade 10. I actually took a large amount of time off theatre after that until a few years ago when MTP cast me in “Jesus Christ Superstar” as an ensemble member. My love for theatre was re-introduced into my life, and I can’t believe that I ever stopped! From there I have been involved in “Heathers,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Rocky Horror Show,” “Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens,” “Cabaret,” and now “Beauty and The Beast.”
It’s been a wild and exciting ride, and I have met the most wonderful people in the last few years.
My most challenging role to date is probably Belle, to be honest. Vocally, it is demanding. On top of that, you want to be the perfect Disney princess for all the kids and parents that will come out to see it! It’s such a classic, I want to do the role justice. I worked very hard on my vocals and my sound, so I hope I have brought to the role what people envision Belle to be.
5) What do the actors in the cast do to prepare for rehearsal and for the show?
A lot of prep goes into rehearsals and shows. I don’t know about others, although I am sure many do this too, I like to look at videos of past actors who have played the role I am about to play. It gives me some ideas to go off of and little mannerisms that a character might have to add in. I’ll listen to the music a lot as well just around the house to become familiar with it and get a sense of the sound.
During rehearsals, I enjoy “table talking” with the director and other actors about motivations for scenes – it helps find the passion for the character in a specific scene.
When show time comes around, rest and drinking tons of water are so important. I try not to speak too much in the day (although I’m a talker, so that can be difficult). Occasionally, I’ll go over my script, but I should feel confident enough by show time. Positive vibes and pump-up music keep us amped for the show!!
Actually, the girls change room has been blasting Queen pre-show recently. The most important thing is to stay relaxed, confident, and positive about what the cast and crew have put together for the audience.
Either / Or
From each pair below pick one. Briefly explain.
1) Musicals or Drama?
Musicals all the way! What is a show without breaking out into a musical number?! (not to say I don’t appreciate the dramas).
2) Disney or Pixar?
Disney for sure! I grew up watching Disney movies, so they are classic for me.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
London Community Players
The Palace Theatre
710 Dundas St., London On.
Final Performance 2 PM, Sunday, December 9
More information & Purchase Tickets Online