The lovable, bumbling antics of Gaston’s sidekick LeFou will be played by local actor Nicholas Bradbury in Beauty and the Beast.
The Disney production by Theatre Under The Stars follows Belle, a young woman from a provincial town in France who meets the Beast, a young prince who has been transformed by a wicked spell that will only be broken if he can learn to be loved by someone else.
The 21-year-old Bradbury will be taking on the comedic character, a bucket list role for the Maple Ridge native.
“I find it comes quite naturally. It doesn’t take too much character prep for me to start exuding a lot of energy.”
Bradbury moved to Maple Ridge with his family when he was in Grade 1 and has lived here for 11 years.
He got his first start in acting when he was nine with Xtreme Theatre, a theatrical group run by volunteers for home-schooled children to learn about being a part of a musical theatre production.
His first production was Annie Get Your Gun. Bradbury had lines in front of an audience. That was the moment his passion for acting blossomed.
Over the years with Xtreme, he played a variety of characters, including Mr. Smee in Peter Pan and Maurice in its production of Beauty and the Beast. When he got closer to graduation, he joined the Lindbjerg Academy of Performing Arts in Coquitlam.
Not sure what he wanted to do in life, Bradbury took a year off from post secondary school and auditioned for Shrek the Musical with Align Entertainment.
Again, the fire of performing took hold of him.
“It was such a large production, with a full orchestra, and so it was a total magical experience for me. It set in what I really wanted to do,” said Bradbury.
Bradbury enrolled in the theatre program at Capilano University and has starred in three productions, including Rocky in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, cousin Kevin in The Who’s Tommy, and Hans the Kit Kat boy in Cabaret.
Last summer, Bradbury played the role of Noah Claypole in Theatre Under the Stars production of Oliver. This netted him an E.V. Young award for the most outstanding performance in Theatre Under The Stars.
“It was a total surprise. I didn’t know I was up for anything. I was very excited getting that recognition and I felt like I got the job done,” he said.
Bradbury is looking forward to his upcoming role.
“I really enjoy the comedic roles and getting to sing such an iconic song like ‘Gaston,’ it’s really exciting for me,” he said.
“[The role] is very physically demanding in the way that I’m pratfalling for two hours,” Bradbury said about the overly dramatic falls and wipeouts that come with playing the character.
“You have to commit without hurting yourself and know where on your body to land,” he added.
People who come to see the show will be expecting the Disney cartoon and that is what they are going to get.
“The production is going to be huge and right out of the story book,” said Bradbury.
Beauty and the Beast runs alternating evenings with West Side Story from July 6 to Aug. 20 at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park.
Preview nights are July 6 and 10 and there will be fireworks at the July 30 show. The show starts at 8 p.m. and finishes at 10:30 p.m. with a 20-minute intermission.
Tickets range between $25 to $40 and can be bought at Tickets Tonight, Plaza, 200 Burrard Street in Vancouver, by calling 604-684-2787 or at ticketstonight.ca.
Tickets can also be purchased at the Stanley Park box office.