BWW Interviews: Ross Nemeth of DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Bass Hall
Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the award-winning worldwide smash hit Broadway musical, is returning to Fort Worth as part of Performing Arts Fort Worth's Broadway at the Bass series. Produced by NETworks Presentations, this elaborate theatrical production will come to life on stage at Bass Performance Hall January 14-18. Tickets start at $33 and are on sale now!
In anticipation of the show, I spoke with Ross Nemeth, one of two youth-actors playing the role of Chip, the famous tea cup from the movie-turned-musical. Read how Ross spends his time offstage, how he was cast in the show, and what he feels is the hardest part about life on the road!
Full Name: Ross Nemeth
Age: "Eleven, almost twelve. I will be twelve on February thirteenth. "
Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona
Current Role: Chip, in the national tour of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
Kyle Christopher West: What was the first performance onstage you remember seeing?
Ross Nemeth: "I think it was when I saw The Wiz at Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale. My sister was in it. I mostly remember the flying monkeys because they were on roller-skates and skateboards. I thought that was really cool. [And] I was really scared of the Wizard's voice because he was loud and echo-y...I remember being really scared of that!"
Kyle: What stage experience did you have before Beauty and the Beast?
Ross: "I've done a lot of community theatre shows and summer camps. I've been doing theatre since I was 4: I was an Oompa Loompa. I've gone on and done Fiddler on the Roof, and I was recently in Peter Pan at a professional dinner theatre [Arizona Broadway Theatre] right before I came to tour."
Kyle: Do you have a favorite role that you played, or show you have been a part of?
Ross: "No. All of them have been so great for me. Everything's been very different. I can't really pick out a favorite; it's too hard."
Kyle: What hobbies and activities do you enjoy outside of theatre?
Ross: "I like to play [outdoor] sports, like football and soccer and basketball. I like to read a lot, [or] play board games, like Risk. It's really fun; I love it. (Laughs) I watch some television. I watch sports stuff and play some video games. I like to sing. I like to tap across the floor at home and I usually end up tapping across the floor all over the place. It's really fun!"
Kyle: Beauty and the Beast opened in movie theatres in 1991 and on Broadway in 1994. Were you familiar with the movie or the musical before to joining the national tour?
Ross: "Yeah. One of the other first shows I remember seeing was my sister in Beauty and the Beast as a Silly Girl at our community theatre. I had seen the movie plenty of times on VHS and I really liked the show. [Then], last year (the year before I went on tour), I saw Beauty and the Beast on tour. It was really cool seeing the show, and the next year to end up doing the show!
Kyle: Speaking of joining the national tour, can you tell me about how you were cast as Chip?
Ross: "Well, it was actually a total fluke, kind of! Broadway Artist Alliance was auditioning to do their summer camp program. They were also offering free master classes. I wasn't auditioning, [but] my sister had done [the master classes previously], and my mom was like, "Go do it. Bob Cline is there and you'll probably learn a lot from him." Bob Kline is the casting director for this show. [So], I was doing dance with Derrick Jones and Bob Kline was in there. He picked me out, asked me for my headshot and resume, and asked if I sang. I said yes and he asked if I was taking his class after this: I said yes. My voice teacher just happened to be [at the class] because it was [at] her sister's dance studio [and] I had my book with me, so we picked a song out and practiced it a bunch. I had a two hour break before I had to go back to take the second master class. They apparently saved me the last audition spot, except I didn't know it was an audition: I thought it was just part of the class. I sang for him, and I left. [Then],we were called back into the master class. [Bob] talked [to the class] about things you have to do, like [having] expression [through an] entire song. Then he said, "Ross will come up here to sing for me, because he just did everything I wanted to see." [After class], he asked my mom if I was interested in being Chip in the national tour. It was so crazy; I was so surprised. Four months later, he emailed us on a Thursday and said, "Can you be in New York on Tuesday for a callback?" Two days [after the callback], they called me and I got the part!"
Kyle: How has performing in a national tour met your expectations?
Ross: "Everything is so spot-on; it's so cool. Everything is just perfect. I'm learning from listening and talking to all these professionals that I'm working with. It's really cool!"
Kyle: Is it difficult to be a child actor on tour with adults?
Ross: "Sometimes. It's not really the adults: it's usually just because I'm a kid and I have to be on an adult sleep schedule. It's probably the hardest part of the tour! (Laughs)"
Kyle: Do you have any warm-ups or rituals to get you get ready to go onstage?
Ross: "I just use my voice teacher's warm up. I have it recorded on my iPod and I do that before every show."
Kyle: What has been your favorite city on tour, so far? How do you like to spend your time off?
Ross: "It's hard, because I think D.C. will be one of those favorites after we're done with it: we're in Washington D.C. now. My favorite by far is New York. We were there for rehearsal and we got to live there for three weeks. It was so fun! I loved being in New York."
Kyle: What do you hope to do after the Beauty and the Beast tour closes?
Ross: "I'll probably just chill out for three days, and then start preparing to audition for other shows!"
Ross Nemeth plays Chip at certain performances in the national tour of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, appearing at Bass Hall, Wednesday, January 14th through Sunday, January 18th. To purchase tickets by phone, call (817) 212-4280 in Fort Worth; 1-877-212-4280 (toll free) outside Fort Worth; or order online at www.basshall.com. Tickets are also available at the Bass Performance Hall ticket office at 525 Commerce Street. Ticket office hours: Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. For group sales, call 817-212-4248.