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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Darby Bixler plays Belle in Civic Theatre's production of "Beauty and the Beast."

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 11:10 am

Spotlight: Darby Bixler, 'Beauty and the Beast'

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

If you go

What: "Beauty and the Beast"

When: 8 p.m. Saturday and July 28 and 29 and Aug. 4 and 5; 2 p.m. Sunday and July 30 and Aug. 6

Where: Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St.

Admission: $30 adults, $25 ages 60 and older, $17 ages 23 and younger; 424-5220 and


What: "Beauty and the Beast" sensory-friendly performance for families with children with autism and other sensory sensitivities

When: 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St.

Admission: Free, call 424-5200 and use code SFP


Civic Theatre opens "Beauty and the Beast" on Saturday.

Fans of the Disney movies will be familiar with the story of bookworm Belle who falls in love with the monster living in a castle with talking furniture. Disney first told the tale as old as time in an animated film in 1991, and more recently in a live-action movie starring Emma Watson.

Darby Bixler stars as Belle in the local production. She answered some questions via email. Responses have been edited.

Q. Are there challenges or benefits to doing this show on the heels of Disney's live-action movie, which just recently left local theaters and came out on DVD?

A. Yes, it is quite scary to do this show just off the heels of the film coming out. People all love and know the Disney animated film and know there's a whole new generation of people that know and love the real life adaptation. It's hard to live up to everyone's expectations. But I'm very excited to share this with all of the kids that will be seeing the show for the first time!

Q. "Beauty and the Beast" director John Tolley told me that other members of your family are involved in the local theater scene. Are there things you've learned from them over the years?

A. Yes I grew up in a very theatrical household! I never knew radio songs growing up, only showtunes! My parents have taught me so much, but the biggest thing is to appreciate each experience and everyone involded. Everyone, from the cast to the crew, works equally as hard to produce the best show possible. Everyone deserves respect.

Q. If you were putting together Belle's library, what are some titles you would make sure were on the shelves?

A. If I had Belle's library, the first books I would make sure to include are the Harry Potter series. I absolutely love those book! But I would also make sure all the classics are there. I really enjoy "Wuthering Heights."

And of course every play I could find.

Q. Do you remember your first experience with Disney's "Beauty and the Beast?"

A. I don't remember the first time I watched "Beauty and the Beast" because I was so young, but it was a staple in our house growing up. I have seen it countless times. The Civic's production follows the original story so well. The only thing I will miss is not being able to ice skate. However, that is very difficult to do on stage!

Q. What is the last thing you do before you go onstage?

A. I always, without exception, get butterflies before I go onstage. So, consequently, I pace a lot back stage. Before I go on, I check my props, wait in the wings, close my eyes, take a deep breathe, and say a little prayer. The hope beyond hope everything goes well!