BWW Interview: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Spotlight on Bryan M. Pitt- Ritz Theatre's "Beast"

BWW Interview: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Spotlight on Bryan M. Pitt- Ritz Theatre's “Beast”

Bryan M. Pitt may be new to the Ritz but he certainly has a long list of iconic leading male roles in some outstanding popular musicals. Bryan has played Javert in Les Miserables, Coalhouse in Ragtime, The Engineer in Miss Saigon, Collins in RENT and Mister in The Color Purple, which earned him a 2015 Perry Award for "Best Actor in a Musical".

We caught up with Bryan early in rehearsals for Beauty and the Beast.

Pati Buehler: What enticed you to reach out for the role of the Beast?

Bryan Pitt: The Ritz Theatre Company has always been known to produce quality theater and the Beast has always been a role I've been interested in since I first saw the Broadway production with Terrance Mann. Also, being a raving fan of Disney and Alan Menken, I felt this was a great time to audition for the role. The deciding factor was learning that the production would be led by Mr. Hutchings. His creativity and previous work ensured me this would be a great production.

Beauty and the Beast premiered on Broadway on April 18, 1994. I was fortunate to attend the opening and greatly enjoyed the entire cast lead by Terrance Mann as the Beast and Susan Eagan as Belle. The musical opened to mixed reviews from theatre critics, but was a massive commercial success and well received by audiences. Beauty ran on Broadway for 5,461 performances between 1994 and 2007, becoming Broadway's tenth longest-running production in history. The musical has grossed more than $1.4 billion worldwide and played in thirteen countries and 115 cities. It has also become a popular choice for high school productions.

BWW Interview: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Spotlight on Bryan M. Pitt- Ritz Theatre's “Beast”Pati Buehler: You have played some powerhouse parts. How do you prepare for such demanding roles?

Bryan Pitt: I spend time doing research to properly embody the character. It's important that I believe in the character behind any role I play, so I research the time period of each piece as well as the surroundings to envision myself there, not just on a stage. As most actors know, doing this helps to understand the meaning of the text and how my character delivers lines. It also makes memorization easier.

Pati Buehler: As a local actor what other roles are you looking forward to playing and where?

Bryan Pitt: I can't give away all of my secrets, but I have truly enjoyed working on the musical Ragtime. It's a powerful piece of work based on E. L. Doctorow's novel. This is a project I would love to work on with a theatre company like The Ritz.

Beauty and the Beast was Disney's first of 6 Broadway musicals (Lion King, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, Little Mermaid, Aladdin); some more successful than others and 3 more on the way. While some may view Disney on Broadway as children's theater the popularity has proven that many adults worldwide enjoy the magic as well.

Come see Bryan and the entire cast of at the Ritz Theatre, 915, White Horse Pike, Haddon Twp. NJ. Disney's Beauty and the Beast will be performed July 13 - August 6, with the Breakfast with Belle event taking place on July 29th. For information and reservations, call the box office Tuesday through Friday, from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM at 856-858-5230 or visit the Ritz website at www.ritztheatreco.org.

Photo # 1 Bryan M. Pitt (The Beast), Anabelle Garcia (Belle)

Photos: Courtesty Ritz Theatre


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