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    Disney’s Hit Musical Beauty and the Beast Tells Tale as Old as Time About Acceptance

    We cannot even type Beauty and the Beast without humming Angela Lansbury’s beautifully sung tune of the same name from the animated movie. Just as memorable and powerful–perhaps even more so–is the hit Broadway musical, which is returning to San Francisco’s SHN Orpheum Theatre from June 29–July 10.

    Based on the Academy Award-winning film, this eye-popping spectacle has won the hearts of over 35 million people worldwide. The classic musical love story is filled with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes, and dazzling production numbers including “Be Our Guest” and the aforementioned beloved title song.

    It was a treat to recently spend time with David Grindrod, who plays a Townsperson and an “Enchanted Object”(!) in the show. He is incredibly handsome, talented, out & proud, and truly enchanting on and off stage.

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    San Francisco Bay Times: Why do you think the “Beauty and the Beast” tale holds such timeless appeal for not only children but also adult theater goers?

    David Grindrod: Beauty and the Beast was one of the first shows I saw on Broadway. I was 10 years old and on the edge of my seat entranced by this captivating performance. At intermission, a tough caramel candy pulled a tooth out and I was bleeding everywhere (don’t worry it was a baby tooth), but I refused to leave! I had to see Act 2! The curtain dropped and I knew I had to be in that show! If Rob Roth, the director, had come up to 10-year-old David and said, “In 15 years, you are going to be in my national tour,” I would have fainted! Walking into rehearsals, I hadn’t seen the show since age 10. I was floored at how relatable, funny, and important this show’s message was!

    San Francisco Bay Times: Please share a bit about your role in the show and how you became a part of the company.

    David Grindrod: My first character is the Town Shepherd; thanks to my blonde ponytail and shepherd staff, he goes by Little “Beau” Peep. My pepper shaker is named Cy, short for Cyan Pepper. He spends most of “Be Our Guest” jumping, turning, and kicking! In naming my characters, I forgot about my sweet stone statue. When I was asked his name I panicked. The first thing to jump into my mind was one of the ensemble girls, so my gargoyle is named Jeanette!

    Getting this job was a lot about being at the right place at the right time. I had just graduated from Pace University, and after various summer jobs, I returned to NYC on a Monday night. Tuesday, I had my first audition as a “real graduated grown up.” The casting director, Bob Cline, asked me if I could come back the next day for a replacement audition for the Beauty and the Beast national tour. So I did! Over the course of 5 hours we danced, sang, and did scenes from the show. The next day I found out I got it! Three days later I started rehearsal and three weeks later I was on the road!

    For as long as I can remember, I have been singing and dancing! I begged my mom to put me in dance lessons, but she told me I had to learn how to read first. I thought, “Who needs to read when you can dance?!” I hit the books, and once my mother thought my reading skills were up to par, I started dancing. I was really bad, but I loved it. I would have dreams of being able to leap in a full split across a stage! It felt so good! Then I’d wake up and my hamstrings would quickly inform me it was all a dream. I kept working and my wonderful teachers kept pushing me, and eventually I turned into a dancer!

    San Francisco Bay Times: Any anecdotes to share regarding the tour so far?

    David Grindrod: One of the many roles the ensemble men play are gargoyles. We have to walk like we are made of stone, so if you step wrong and the wood heel hits the wood floor, you are down! As the months go by, we all have our falling gargoyle moments. I just had mine the other night! My fellow gargoyles quietly giggled at me as entering the scene.

    San Francisco Bay Times: Have you been to San Francisco before? What place are you most looking forward to visiting once you are here?

    David Grindrod: I have only been to San Francisco once, and it was lovely! I am very excited to come back! I am excited to eat my way through this wonderful city and, of course, take a touristy picture at the Golden Gate Bridge! I also want to explore that jail! All I can think to call it is Azkaban, but I know that’s Harry Potter. (He pauses to Google the right name…) Alcatraz! I have a big sweet tooth, so I will have to make a pit stop at Ghirardelli!

    San Francisco Bay Times: Like many folktales, Beauty and the Beast presents lessons that can educate and influence. How do you hope the show will affect audiences, and at this particular time? Is it just great escapist entertainment, or do you think that the show holds even more potential power?

    David Grindrod: Musical theatre has always included all kinds of people and celebrated their differences. In Beauty and the Beast, the Beast thinks he will never be able to overcome his appearance. Acceptance is something all humans want and there are moments in life where it is nowhere to be found. This story encourages us that we are good enough and being kind is always a good first step. It also proves that love can overcome anything! This is so important in today’s world.

    Beauty and the Beast

    June 29–July 10

    SHN Orpheum Theatre

    1192 Market Street, San Francisco

    For tickets and more info: https://www.shnsf.com/Online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=C3CB2080-F088-4C1E-9536-377AC5DE8384