BWW Interview: James May of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Gives Us a Moment of His Time
Everyone's favorite "tale as old as time" is coming to San Diego as BEAUTY AND THE BEAST come to the San Diego Civic Center January 7-12, 2014.
Belle's journey to love, acceptance, and her own castle comes with more than just that fabulous library, it also comes with all of the servants of the castle in the guise of everyday objects. While the Prince may be a beast, his loyal helpers are under a curse, including his butler, Cogsworth who is transformed into a clock. James May plays this role and had a few minutes to give to me to talk about this role and performing in a Disney classic story. So tick-tock let's talk to the clock!
James May has the had the opportunity to play this role for over two years now but he loves his character as much now as he did when he first was cast. "I've played multiple roles in a similar vein. I think it's a form of comedy that resonates with me. I get it. I think it's fun because; it would be easy to take characters and make them a bit mean, and stuffy and unlikeable. I think it's fun to make this character endearing."
May has had quite had quite a bit of time to figure out what makes Cogsworth such a delightfully loveable fussbudget and comes to his defense against those that think he might be a bit of a killjoy "He really has good points most of the time. Yeah, things have a way of working out, even if people don't generally listen to him. It's not often that you hear Cogsworth say 'I told you so' but his initial opinions on things make perfect sense. He's not a jerk. He's just trying to keep everyone orderly."
James is a Colorado kid that has called Southern California home as well. But this is his first time performing for the friends and family he has in this area. Having clocked in for over 500 performances he has toured all over the US, just missing Hawaii and Delaware to round out the map. While living out of a suitcase may not sound like fun to some, but May loves the lifestyle.
"I love the show and I love touring. A lot of people end up leaving because the touring lifestyle is not really for them, and that makes perfect sense. You're living out of a suitcase, you're moving constantly, you don't really settle down like you would if you had a house or an apartment. Friends and family, for some people long distance relationships, those can be hard to live with while you're on the road. I've been very lucky that I love the lifestyle, because I love exploring. I never feel like I am drudgingly always moving, I feel like "Wow, I have a constant opportunity to see new things'. To be able to see the whole country, and Canada as well, I've currently played all 50 states except for Hawaii and Delaware."
One of those states he visited was Alaska in January, an experience that he says he loved!
"In Alaska for three weeks in Anchorage in January of 2012. I loved it! I love the cold actually. I'm from Colorado, I'm generally a mountain boy, and I don't mind the cold. Well, as long as there is snow and ice everywhere, I am actually happier. But I don't love cold when it is just bitter wind...Alaska, it was negative 12 degrees when we were there. But you account for that and wear layers and then you are walking through a winter wonderland and there is a moose across the street!"
In the end though, it all comes back to the show for James. "It's so wonderful that our show appeals to everyone and the kids come and have a great time, and Disney is so good about that in general. The kids, maybe the parents chose to go to bring the kids, but it's not a chore for them. They have a great time, my favorite is when, I've had so many people come, like husbands, or my uncle, or Dad's, or 20 year old football players who think ' I'm not going for me. I'm taking my girlfriend, kid, wife...' but what I love so much is that they end up loving it themselves. Like my uncle says he doesn't like musical theatre, and he only came because I'm in it and his granddaughter is three. So he came to the show and he said to his wife after 'That might have won me over, that was pretty good'.
I have a friend who had never been to a theatre before, never been to the theatre and he had a blast and was smiling like an eight year old kid. Sometimes people don't know that it's also for them. It's universal."