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'Beauty' performer embraces dance again (video)

By Bianca Montes
July 30, 2013 at 2:30 a.m.
Updated July 31, 2013 at 2:31 a.m.

Julianna Sheeran stands on stage during a dress rehearsal for the upcoming stage version of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast." Sheeran will play Mrs. Potts. Opening night is Thursday at the Leo J. Welder Center for Performing Arts.

Show dates and times

• WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Wednesday and Aug. 8-10; 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

• WHERE: Leo J. Welder Center, 214 N. Main St.

• COST $25 adults, $22 seniors and $19 students, military and children

• CONTACT: 361-576-6277

Julianna Sheeran grew up singing and dancing but only recently was she bit by the theater bug.

At age 2, her life was set; Sheeran was going to be a dancer, and her mother quickly enrolled her in classes.

For eight years, she trained diligently with the Debbie Bennet Green School, spending a year at the Busby Dancenter in Victoria, before going on to dance professionally with the Victoria Ballet Theatre. Dancing was everything, but during her freshman year in high school, she had to set aside dancing to pursue University Interscholastic League classes.

Thursday, Sheeran will dust off her dance shoes to perform as Mrs. Potts in Disney's classic "Beauty and the Beast." The romantic musical is set to make a nine-show run at the Leo J. Welder Center through Aug. 10.

"I did not expect to get the part of Mrs. Potts at all," Sheeran said, still in awe that she was cast for such a prominent role in Theatre Victoria's season opener. "I didn't expect to get anything but a fork in the background."

For days, she did not believe that she got the part, "I kept waiting for this email telling me it was a mistake," she said, laughing.

But it wasn't a mistake, and while Sheeran delved into her character, she soon realized why it was perfect for her.

The 22-year-old recent college graduate hopes to one day be a teacher and attended Carlton State University, just like her mother, to make that dream come true.

"Mrs. Potts is like the mother of the all the characters in Beast's house," Sheeran said, "and I'm kind of like the mother to all the actors on cast."

While most of the actors in the production are veterans to the theater with several shows in their back pocket, Sheeran said they're all working hard to make her feel at home on the stage, especially director Scott Mohon.

"He has been really great about helping me grow," she said. "He is always very encouraging, and he has his expectations, and he helps us reach those expectations."

Sheeran said acting isn't her strong suit, and she's still incredibly nervous about opening day, "Mrs. Potts has a much bigger role in the play than she does in the movie," she said.

Sheeran said her character has more depth than what is originally portrayed in the movie, and in the theater, the audience will learn a lot about the characters struggles to become a human after being transformed into a teapot.

"It's all for her son," Sheeran said. "She desperately wants to be human because she cares about how being a teacup will affect him."

Performing as Mrs. Potts, Sheeran said, also will help her become a better teacher once she finds an elementary school to settle down with.

Sheeran is taking a semester off to complete a mission trip in Tahoe City, Calif., with a children's program.

"Music and dance has always been a part of my life," she said. "It feels good to return."

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