His Own Special Creation: Tony Winner Gary Beach Set to Debut Solo Show

News   His Own Special Creation: Tony Winner Gary Beach Set to Debut Solo Show
Gary Beach, the Tony Award-winning showman whose memorable roles include Roger De Bris in The Producers, Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast and Albin in the 2004 revival of La Cage aux Folles, will debut his one-man show, From Beach to Broadway, for the Heritage Pointe Gala on Nov. 18.
Gary Beach
Gary Beach Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The gala evening will benefit Heritage Pointe, the non-profit Jewish-traditional senior living community in Mission Viejo, CA. Playbill.com had a chance to speak with Beach, who is currently preparing to return to the role of Thenardier in Broadway's Les Misérables.

"I always wanted to put an act together, but I didn't have the impetus and I was always a little busy. Out of nowhere, my agent in Los Angeles got a call from a group that was doing a big benefit in the fall, and they said, 'Does Gary Beach have an act?' So, my agent said, 'Do you have an act?' and I said, 'No, but I could!'"

While Beach hasn't decided if From Beach to Broadway is only a working title or not, the evening will stand as a valentine to the theatre from an actor who truly loves his craft.

Beach, who recently took leave from the revival of Les Misérables to undergo hip surgery, found his time off invaluable. "I had all of this time on my hands and reams of music in front of me. The hard part of putting an act together is deciding what you want to say. And I decided that my act is really about my love for what I do. It's really fun to invest this time and investigate my career and my life."

As well as highlighting his favorite roles, Beach intends to take his audiences on a journey through his inspirations and love of the theatre. From the first Broadway show he ever saw, The Music Man, through landing his first role in New York and originating his first role Off-Broadway in Smile, Smile, Smile, in what Beach describes as "one of the biggest bombs in Off-Broadway history. Clive Barnes reviewed it and said, 'Smile, Smile, Smile, and I didn't, I didn't, I didn't.'" Beach states that the Times quote remained in the Guinness Book of World Records as the worst review for years. "I'm going to sing the title song from it and you'll know why it got that review!" "Where Is the Life That Late I Led," originated by Alfred Drake in Kiss Me, Kate, will be included, as Beach cites him as "the greatest influence for me when I was a kid, a name that I'm afraid a lot of people don't know."

A medley of Beach's most famous Broadway turns in Beauty and the Beast, The Producers and La Cage aux Folles will be represented in a medley featuring "Keep It Gay," "Be Our Guest" and "La Cage aux Folles." The evening will culminate in Jerry Herman's "I Am What I Am," the Act One curtain of La Cage.

Fellow Lumiere, Peter Flynn, will direct the evening with Phil Reno serving as Beach's musical director. Reno, who currently conducts The Drowsy Chaperone on Broadway, previously worked with Beach in The Producers, "I had to have a musical director who gets the jokes," Beach explains.

While future dates haven't been confirmed for announcement, Beach told Playbill.com "plans are to expand it into a full evening with an orchestra - the material and the variety can really take the big sound. I've had the luck over the years to do some big songs."

Fans can catch Gary Beach when he returns to the role of innkeeper Thenardier in Les Misérables at the Broadhurst Theatre Sept. 4.

Reservations for From Beach to Broadway are available by calling (949) 364-0010.

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