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Two African American Females Star in Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast, the Broadway Musical’ 
By Kimberlee Buck, Staff Writer 
Published May 10, 2018

(l-to-r) Samantha M. Lawrence as Belle and Jacquelin Schofield as Mrs. Potts. (Photo by Rosa Lisbeth Navarette)

Back by popular demand at the CASA 0101 Theater, TNH Productions present’s Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast, The Broadway Musical.” The musical based on the fairytale story, “La Belle et la Bête,” written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot De Villeneuve, tells the love story of a young woman who lives in a provincial town and falls in love with a Beast, who is actually a handsome young prince living in a castle in France. To help tell this story, Founding Artistic Director, Josefina Lopez, and Musical and Artistic Director and Founder, Rigo Tejeda, felt it was necessary to work with a diverse cast to reflect the current times in which we live.  

“Our culturally diverse production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” will be a visual and aural feast for the eyes and ears for theatergoers of all ages and backgrounds. Our current production of the show will feature some returning cast members, along with many very talented new actors in leading and supporting roles, as well as new members in the ensemble,” said Tejeda in a statement. 

Recently, the Los Angeles Sentinel had the opportunity to speak with the two African American women starring in the Broadway musical, Samantha M. Lawrence double casted for the role of Belle, and Jacquelin Schofield casted for the role of Mrs. Potts.  

Meet Samantha M. Lawrence Starring in the Role of Belle 

Samantha M. Lawrence (courtesy photo)

Versatile vocalist Lawrence, moved from Maryland to Los Angeles in 2016 to continue her pursuit of musical theatre. Now, she has had the chance to perform all over the Greater Los Angeles area. Some of her past L.A. credits include: “Don Giovanni” (Chorus, Pacific Opera Project), “Cabaret at the Merc,” Motown Vol. 4, “Jesus Christ Superstar” (Soul Girls/Ensemble, Buena Park and STS Productions), and “Songs for a New World” (Woman 1, Chromolume Theatre). Lawrence has also performed at The W Hotel as part of 42 Seven Productions’ “Live in the Living Room” series. Currently, her main focus is preparing for her double casted role as Belle! 

Los Angeles Sentinel (LAS)How did you prepare for the role of Belle?

Samantha M. Lawrence (SML) I really had to go back and not become as worldly, and what I mean by that is that I had to become a little more naïve. It was really hard to go back to that place where you are really young and you don’t really know a lot. A lot of it for me was going through and watching the animated Disney movie again. The animated film took me back to when I was a little girl watching these Disney movies and how much awe and wonder there was in that world. 

LAS: What similarities, if at all, would you say you have in common with Belle?

(l-to-r) Jacquelin Schofield as Mrs. Potts, Samantha M. Lawrence as Belle, and Omar Mata as the Beast. (Photo by Rosa Lisbeth Navarette)

SML: Her character sees the good in everyone and everything, and I do that. Having gone through the world and having seen all the crazy things that happens on the news, you still want to believe that there is good in everyone and everything you come across. Belle in my opinion is kind of bubbly, she doesn’t have very much of an attitude to her. I try to deny it a whole lot but my personality is a bit bubbly too. 

LAS: Do you have any advice for young women of color who are thinking about pursuing a career in musical theatre?

SML: Absolutely do it! A lot of casting directors haven’t moved past the appearance thing yet and I just learned about type casting myself. It can’t hurt to go out and show them what you have anyway because the worst they can tell you is no.  

Aside from her musical theatre career, Lawrence has also made appearances in television commercials, print ads and was featured in a musical video. What’s next for her? More auditions of course. Lawrence is also interested in doing voice overs.  

Meet Jacqueline Schofield Starring In the Role of Mrs. Potts  

Jacquelin Schofield (courtesy photo)

Brooklyn native Schofield, originally had plans to attend law school. However as she likes to put it, “the arts called and she answered.” After relocating almost three years ago to Los Angeles, Schofield became a 2012 Ovation Award winner for her performance in “The Color Purple.” Additionally, Schofield was also nominated for an NAACP Theatre Award for Best Supporting Female for her performance as Mrs. Muller in “Doubt: A Parable.” However, she is most excited about her role as Mrs. Potts.  

LAS: How did you prepare for the role of Mrs. Potts?

Jacquelin Schofield (JS)I read through the script and watched the movie over again. I leaned more toward the animated version as to how I was going to bring her character to life in my betrayal of the role.  

LAS: What similarities, if at all, would you say you have in common with Mrs. Potts?

 JS: I see her as very maternal. I thought about myself even though I’m not married yet and I don’t have any kids, I feel like a lot of people describe me as being very warm and maternal. I see her as somebody’s favorite auntie when you always want to be over their house. That’s my personality. I am a naturally warm, friendly, and a loving person and that’s how I view Mrs. Potts.   

LAS: Do you have any advice for young women of color who are thinking about pursuing a career in musical theatre?

Samantha M. Lawrence and Jacquelin Schofield during the rehearsal’s together. (Photo by Conrado TerrazasCross)

JS: I believe we cannot let society tell us because we are Brown and Black that we cannot do this or that or the other. You can do anything and do not be discouraged by what quote on quote ‘society’ tells you. Or what you hear on the news and see on social media. If this is something that you really want to do, and that you know in your heart of hearts that you want to do, then do it!  

Aside from her lengthy career in musical theatre, Schofield has also appeared on TV One, TruTv, Showtime, and the REELZ Network. Schofield’s latest career moves involve continuing her journey in the world of arts. Recently, she booked a role in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” as Tituba. 

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast the Broadway Musical,” opened this Friday, May 11 and runs through June 10. However, Schofield’s final performance as Mrs. Potts will take place on Sunday, May 27. Lawrence will be on stage Friday, May 25 through Sunday, June 3. Catch Schofield and Lawrence on stage together on the following dates:  

  • Friday, May 25th at 8:00 p.m. 
  • Saturday, May 26th at 2:00 p.m. 
  • Saturday, May 26th at 8:00 p.m. 
  • Sunday, May 27th at 3:00 p.m. 

For ticket purchases and more information please visit www.casa0101.org. 

Categories: Entertainment | Exclusive (Entertainment) | News (Entertainment) | Theater
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