Iowa native performs in Beauty and the Beast

Nicole Presley

Kristin Stewart, an Iowa native, will play Mrs. Potts in the upcoming musical “Beauty and the Beast” on Thursday at Stephens Auditorium.

Originally from Martelle, Iowa, Stewart loved musicals from a young age.

“I guess my classic story is I saw Oklahoma, the movie, on Iowa Public Television when I was four years old and I fell in love with the genre. I memorized the musical, I danced all the parts, I loved it,” Stewart said. “My brother and sister, to their chagrin, would hide the video from me, but I absolutely loved it. It certainly became a very easy hobby for me.”  

Stewart found her love for performance when she was a part of the Opus Honor Choir that performed at Stephens when she was in ninth grade. Later when Stewart was a member of the State Fair Singers and Jazz Band she decided she wanted a career in performance.

“I was really probably focusing in on a biology or a pre-med idea for school, but then I was chosen for the State Fair Singers and Jazz Band…and performed throughout the summer with those kids,” Stewart said. “Several of them are either focused on going to school for performing and that was kind of the first time that it really occurred to me that I could actually do that as a living, and not just something that I really liked to do.”  

Stewart attended Illinois Wesleyan University, a small private college in Bloomington, Illinois, as a music theater major. After four years at Illinois Wesleyan, Stewart moved to New York City for musical theater.

Stewart has been in many theater productions and has toured with “Beauty and the Beast” since August 2013. The “Beauty and the Beast” production has been touring for four and a half years.

All of the musical numbers in the musical are the same as the original Disney movie, with one song “Human Again,” that was not added into the original movie until it was rereleased.

Mrs. Potts is the motherly character in “Beauty and the Beast.” She wants her son, Chip, to be human more than she wants to become human again herself. Mrs. Potts helps the other characters focus on the goal of becoming human again.

Although Mrs. Potts is not the Beast’s mother, she plays the motherly role in the Beast’s life.  

The challenging part of Mrs. Potts’ role is her costume. Since she is a teapot Stewart’s posture has to resemble a teapot.

“It’s probably the most challenging part of the role just because one of my arms has to be held up the entire time and the other is on my hip. It’s just not a natural position to hold my arms in and my shoulders are often sore and a bit out of whack because of it,” Steward said.

Since it is not Stewart’s first performance at Stephens Auditorium, she is well acquainted with Iowa State. Stewart’s parents, brothers and some of her cousins have all graduated from Iowa State, so she said she’s familiar with the ISU campus.  

“It’s a treat to come back and perform for Iowa audiences and it’s certainly a great show for the Iowa people. It’s a show that spans across a lot of different demographics and it’s really warmly received,” Stewart said. “It’s a great treat to be in a show like that.”

“Beauty and the Beast” will be at 6:30 p.m. on April 10 at Stephens Auditorium. Tickets can be bought on Ticketmaster or at the north entrance of Stephens Auditorium.