Angela Lansbury, who will return to Broadway this spring in Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, has had a career spanning more than six decades that includes film, television and stage success.
Despite five Tony Awards and countless other credits to her name, Lansbury may still be known best for her voice alone: the actress first voiced Mrs. Potts in "Beauty and the Beast" for the the animated Disney fairy tale's November 1991 release. Twenty years later, the film returns to theaters in 3D this week.
"[Children] don't know that I've done those other things," Lansbury tells the LA Times. "They know me by my voice because children hear me in a supermarket; sometimes I'll be chatting with a friend about lettuce, and suddenly a child will say, 'Mrs. Potts!' It's enchanting."
The role, adds Lansbury, wasn't to play a teapot. "I think the way you approach her is as a little fat woman who was the cook," she says, "Who happened to be in the guise of a teapot...not that she's made of china or that she's breakable but that she's a little busy, fat, overweight lady who's a bit of a charmer, who cares very much about her little boy and is a strong member of the workforce at the castle. You play a whole person."
While "Beauty and the Beast" plays movie theaters across the country, Lansbury will be in rehearsal for THE BEST MAN.
"Gore Vidal is an astute and extremely good writer, although he's not known necessarily as a playwright, but as a political writer, he's bar none about as good as you get. So I think it will have a resonance certainly this season," she says of the show. "It is dark, but it's the sort of thing we've been watching and noting every day on the television and on the news, the kind of brickbats the candidates [aim at each other]. It's nothing new. Politics have always been like this, down through the ages."
Lansbury will be joined by James Earl Jones, John Larroquette, Candice Bergen, Eric McCormack, Jefferson Mays, Michael McKean and Kerry Butler. An official opening is set for Sunday, April 1st, 2012 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (236 West 45th Street).
Read the LA Times interview here.