Gareth Jacobs thrilled to bring more Disney magic home

It’s been almost three decades since Disney’s tale, Beauty and the Beast, graced Melbourne’s stages, when it opened at the Princess Theatre in 1995.

In June next year, it will return to Melbourne and call Her Majesty’s Theatre home, after its current run in Sydney and a Brisbane season in February.

There’s no one more excited about its return to Australia’s theatre capital than Melbourne’s Gareth Jacobs who plays Cogsworth – the Beast’s strict yet loyal majordomo who is turned into an enchanted pendulum clock – who can vividly remember sitting in the audience back in the ‘90s.

“When they said on day one of rehearsals that this is the first time it’s been here since then, I was floored. There’s people in the cast that weren’t even born yet,” Gareth told ENCORE Melbourne.

“It’s this amazing full circle moment for families to walk down nostalgic lanes, remember their childhood and then introduce it to their children as well.”

And like all Disney stories, Gareth says the timeless classic is still as relevant today.

He has most recently performed in the Australian production of Mary Poppins for Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, understudying Von Hussler and Policeman, and appeared as the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin for the Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, New Zealand and Singapore seasons.

“I was a genie that pops out of a bottle, to a chimney sweep tapping on a rooftop, to now playing a come-to-life clock. What is my job?”, Gareth said.

“Some people ask, what do you do for a living? I tell them and they look at me like I’ve had one too many wines.”

Beyond Disney, Gareth performed in Ragtime for The Production Company, in the role of Jimmy Early in Dreamgirls and the role of Piragua Guy in In The Heights both for StageArt. 

He starred in Jason Coleman’s Razzle Dazzle and played Michael in Tick Tick Boom for Little Fish Productions.

Gareth’s stage experience is growing but his current role in Beauty in the Beast is a special one as he walks in the shadow of entertainment royalty, the late Bert Newton. He played Cogsworth in the 1995 original Australian run.

“Patti (Newton) pulled me aside when we were working on (Mary) Poppins in Brisbane, and she had just heard that I got the job,” Gareth said.

“She gave me her stamp of approval and said, she thought I’d be brilliant in the role.

“She showed me some of the photos of Bert in the show. She talked about how this was one of his favorites and some of the things that he brought to the show.

“That eased a few of those stresses for me. It was really, really lovely to have her on side.”

Beauty and the Beast the Musical is based on the 1991 animated film. The original production of Beauty and the Beast played for more than 13 years on Broadway, remaining to this day one of the top 10 longest running shows in Broadway history, and touring to 37 countries worldwide.

Gareth said Melbourne audiences are not ready for the spectacular new sets and state-of-the-art technology which uses LED screens to create a more cinematic experience for modern audiences.

“Melbourne is going to be wonderful,” he said.

“It’s really lovely to bring a show that I’m so proud to be a part of  to my home city, and to my family and friends.”

A stellar all-Australian cast will perform alongside Gareth, starring Brisbane’s Shubshri Kandiah as Belle, Brendan Xavier as Beast and Melbourne’s Rohan Browne in the role of Lumiere. 

Brisbane’s Jackson Head will step into the role of Gaston, Gold Coast’s Jayde Westaby will play Mrs Potts, Nick Cox joins as Le Fou and Rodney Dobson will play Belle’s father, Maurice.  

The role of Babette will be played by Mackay’s Hayley Martin and Alana Tranter will play Madame.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast opens at Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Theatre in June 2024, with tickets now on sale at beautyandthebeastmusical.com.au

“A wardrobe comes to life and sings about wanting to be really bougie, what more can you want?”, Gareth said.

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Jack Ward
Jack Wardhttp://jacktward.com
Jack is the current editor of ENCORE Melbourne, a producer and assistant chief of staff at Nine News Melbourne, with a love for theatre and the world of performing arts. He moved to Melbourne from regional Victoria at the start of 2022 for study and work opportunities, AND easy access to Australia's theatre capital! Jack spent several years performing on-stage with his community theatre group and school productions.

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