Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QCGU) alumni Shubshri Kandiah and Jackson Head will no longer be the guests in town when Disney’s Beauty and the Beast musical comes to Brisbane this February.
Having just completed a successful season at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre, the enchanting stage show will call QPAC’s Lyric Theatre home until April before heading back down south to Melbourne.
Ms Kandiah leads the cast as the beautiful Belle, while Mr Head plays formidable villain Gaston.
Growing up in Perth, Ms Kandiah took dancing and singing classes as a child before enrolling in a teaching degree.
When she was accepted into the Bachelor of Musical Theatre at QCGU in 2015 though, she promptly packed her bags and moved to Queensland to chase her dream.
“I had the best time in Queensland,” Ms Kandiah said.
“I had amazing teachers and I had experiences I don’t think I would have had on the west coast.”
Having also played Jasmine in Walt Disney’s Aladdin in 2019, and Ella in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella with Opera Australia in 2022-2023, Ms Kandiah is no stranger to playing the princess, although she remains hardworking, humble, and happy to play any role.
Also holding a Bachelor of Musical Theatre from QCGU, long-time local Jackson Head was born into a musical family, finding joy in exploring music from a very young age.
Since graduating in 2019, he’s had the privilege of playing Jean Valjean in ‘Les Misérables’, Billy Bigelow in ‘Carousel’, and Lounge Singer in ‘Dogfight’.
He’s also performed as a featured soloist in Broadway On Screen with the Queensland Pops Orchestra, and as a member of The Ten Tenors in their Australian tour of The Highway Men, but has lately been enjoying the cheeky, suave character of Gaston.
“I remember being lost for words when I got that call that I was in the show,” Mr Head said.
“Performing in a Disney production has always been a dream of mine, so it was an incredible honour to find out it was becoming a reality.”
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, touring to 37 countries worldwide.
Brisbane audiences are in for a magical ride, with the show re-imagined by members of the original creative team and featuring the nostalgic and spellbinding songs of Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice including Belle, Gaston, Human Again and Be Our Guest… and of course a healthy serving of fresh, home-grown talent.