There’s a tale as old as time that’s currently traveling around the country and its star, Darick Pead, is loving every minute of it.
Pead stars as the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and The Beast and even though he’s got to deal with the sweat-factor of the costume, the Utah native knows how lucky he is. He moved to New York and within a month, he booked the part of the Beast. “I got lucky and… yeah. It’s crazy,” he told me.
In the interview, I talked to him about the costume, why he made the leap to New York, his audition for the show and touring the country.
Follow Darick on Twitter: @d_piddy
Disney’s Beauty And The Beast is currently playing in San Diego. For tickets, click here. Next up is Costa Mesa, Modesto and Albuquerque. For tickets and more tour information, click here.
I’m sure everyone is curious to know about your costume and makeup for the show. How long does it take to be ready show ready? And what time do you have to get to the theatre by?
Darick Pead: Yeah. Well, everybody has to be in by hour. So an hour before the show, that’s everybody’s call time. I start my makeup at hour, so that means I have to be prepped and ready to go at hour.
So, I usually come in 10 minutes early. But really it’s crazy. It might surprise you that it only takes 25 minutes to put the makeup on and that’s including the wig. And then on top of that, it takes me like 10 more minutes to put on the costume. I need help with that obviously, obviously. I don’t even do my makeup. Then I have one of the wardrobe people, they come in 10 minutes before the show starts and they put on my costume and we start.
Because putting on the costume is kinda like wearing a snowsuit in the summertime. As soon as you get in those lights you just… you don’t stop sweating. And so I like to put it on as late as possible.
Do you start to sweat as soon as you go out on stage?
Darick Pead: Yeah. Actually, one time it was funny because we had a show in Hershey, Pennsylvania that was delayed because they had a brown out. And so I was kinda waiting around in my costume and then eventually they said, “Do you wanna take it off?” and I’d only been sitting down doing nothing, just sitting. I took it off and my back was already like completely sweaty.
Darick Pead: Yes, just sitting there makes me sweat. I probably am a pretty sweaty guy, though. I think a regular guy you probably don’t sweat as much as I do, so you probably won’t sweat as much as I will. But I definitely sweat a lot.
Does it weigh a lot?
Darick Pead: No. Not really. I mean, actually, what weighs the most is the coat I put on for the waltz and that Let Me Go scene. That’s the one that… it probably weighs like a good 20 pounds, maybe more.
But everything else is not. It’s very, very loose. It’s very easy to get around in.
It’s funny. My understudy went on for the first time I think this last weekend. My brother got married. And he’s like, “I had no idea that’s what you went through.” And I think it’s just kind of second nature now. You know? I don’t even think about it anymore. If I sweat, I sweat. That’s just the way it’s gonna be. But I guess I kinda forgot that you have to get used to it. It’s a different feeling. And you have a lot of stuff on.
I think the biggest thing is the cape. The cape is what gives me a lot of trouble. It still does. I mean, it still gets caught in stuff once in a while.
It’s an interesting costume. It’s nice though that as an actor, speaking to another actor, you can get this. It’s good because the Beast is trying to talk past all of this stuff to say, “Hey, there’s something else that’s inside me that’s worthwhile, not… don’t look at the exterior,” and so it’s nice to have something that I can easily act through because it’s there.
So that’s the one thing. Even though it has all these things and all this, again, I really don’t mind it at all. I really don’t. It takes a lot for me to be annoyed or anything. But on top of that it’s cool because it actually does give you something to act through and to be more expressive and so that they can see the interior instead of just the exterior.
You know, I was going to ask you about that because with all the stuff that you’re wearing, when you first put all that stuff on, did you find it difficult to express through that?
Darick Pead: I think personally for me, I think I’m telling a story. So I’ve never had any problems being really nervous about if I’m getting the point across. But at the same time I hope I am. So I don’t know for sure.
I think the one great thing about the story that’s so amazing is that I think people get it. I think people get that feeling already and so… seriously, I think we want somebody to accept us 100%, you know, accept our flaws and accept our gifts. Accept our strengths and our weaknesses. And so I think it’s kinda cool in that regard because the Beast is kind of representing all of us wanting to be loved and even though we have all these faults and are scared that people aren’t gonna love us because of our faults. But what he finds as well as everybody else is that there is somebody out there, there’s usually even a few people out there, that can find it in them to love.
How did you get the part?
Darick Pead: It was pretty easy. It wasn’t a very grueling process meaning that usually you come in for like 4 auditions, 3 auditions, and they see you time after time after time. You have to wait every single time.
Honestly, I auditioned for NETworks. They’re the ones who own the show and they’re the ones that produce the show and send it across the nation. And so obviously it’s NETworks presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. But they own Shrek as well. So I went and auditioned for Shrek and I went through the whole audition process there and I found out they were doing Beauty and the Beast and I really wanted to audition. I wanted to give it a shot. And so I asked them, I said, “Hey, is there any way I can audition for Beauty and the Beast?” And they said, “Sure,” and because of where they were in auditioning where Shrek was, I actually just went right into the final callback. And I went in and I had both the Gaston and the Beast stuff and I went through the Gaston stuff first because I was less familiar with that and did the Beast stuff last.
And I had already played the Beast, actually, in 2007, so that was… I think that was kind of a one upper for me was that I had a chance to go into the audition performance ready with the Beast.
And so I went in and did exactly the show that I did, knowing full well that I was gonna change it but I just wanted to be up there performance ready and I did exactly the performance I did when I did the show before. And then [the director] kinda worked with me. And then they asked me to come back for the dance call, and I’m a terrible dancer, and so crazy enough it was because I was a bad dancer that he was not looking at me for… because they were only looking for one part, which was the Beast Gaston cover.
Because if you’re in the ensemble you have to learn both parts. And so that’s what they were looking at me for but because I can’t dance, they couldn’t look at me for that anymore. And so he was like, “I think you could make a good Beast. Why don’t you give it a shot?” and so I had to work on some more things and we went through the song a few more times and that was it. I walked out 45 minutes later and the next day they offered me the job.
Nice. When you walked out, did you have a good feeling?
Darick Pead: Well, so he actually gave me a great feeling. He came up and said, “Look, we’re looking for the Gaston/Beast cover but dancing is not your thing. And I do think you’d make a good Beast, though.” And I think at that time they said something about how there were no really jobs available. He said if the job was available you would’ve gotten it. And so for him to say that to me directly, yeah, I walked out pretty good. I mean, I walked out like, “Wow.”
Yeah, puts a little pep in your step on the way out.
Darick Pead: Yeah. And a lot of people were like, “What if they didn’t call you back.” I was like, “I don’t care. They told me that I wouldn’t have the job if it was available.”
And so, I don’t know, I think that’s the one thing that I’ve learned about being an actor is, in auditions especially, you just have to go in there, give it your best shot, and let it go. You have to forget about it because, I mean, obviously you wanna look at it and say, “What can I do better,” and then let it go. Because there are so many variables that I’ve found.
Once again, the job wasn’t available. 2, they weren’t even looking for somebody to play the Beast when I walked in. you know? So even if I would’ve walked in and they would’ve been like, “Well, it’s not what we want,” they would’ve let me go and maybe I wouldn’t have had that audition for the Beast because they weren’t looking for one. Does that make sense?
I think there’s so many things and chance, you can’t really know about. And so just it’s much easier to let it go. And I think that’s the good thing about the audition. I just let it go and all of a sudden I had a job.
I’ve heard people say that when you go in, you’re not auditioning for that actual show, you’re auditioning for their next show.
Darick Pead: Yeah. And that can be absolutely true. I think sometimes we as actors tend to really beat ourselves up and sometimes it can make us too hard on ourselves.
You got your start in Utah, right?
Darick Pead: Yeah, I’m from Utah.
When did you move to New York and what was your decision in making that leap?
Darick Pead: Well, I saw in Utah that all the Utah actors were not really full time actors. They were part time actors, full time something else. Real estate or something. And so I realized that if I wanted to do this at a professional level that the only way to do that is to move to a place where you can make that happen and New York for me was the only place I thought of. I kinda thought about Chicago because there are some really good places. And so for me [New York] was just the place that I felt like I needed to go. The place that everyone talks about. I’d never actually been to New York City in my life, but I moved out there and I was like, “I gotta do it,” and so… it was hard. It was really hard to get used to the subway and all that stuff, but I thought that was the only way to really make it work and right now it’s paid off and it might not pay off again, but so far it’s good.
How long were you there before you booked the show?
Darick Pead: It was probably like a month. Month and a half.
No way. Wow!
Darick Pead: Yeah, I’m telling you, that’s the thing. I don’t expect this to ever happen again. It was just like the circumstances were there. I think it’s gonna be a different experience when I get back to the city, but I got lucky and… yeah. It’s crazy.
I know that it was an exception and I’m willing to work harder and know that I’ve put in my time, so to speak.
How’s life on the road? How are you enjoying it?
Darick Pead: You know what? Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything greater. Like, I absolutely love it. That’s no joke. There’s just something about traveling around the nation and seeing all the… we actually saw some of Canada, too. But, I don’t know, it’s just fun to be in San Francisco and know that you’re not paying to be here and so if you don’t wanna go to the Golden Gate Bridge, you don’t have to. You know? If you don’t wanna go and see Pier 39, you don’t have to go. But if you do want to go, you can. You know?
Whereas when you go on a vacation it’s like, “We have to get all this stuff in right now. We’re in San Francisco, we’ve got to do all this stuff.” You know? And so it’s just really nice to be able to travel the country and kinda leisurely find the things you like to do and I really, really like that. I really like seeing all these places. So I love it, man.