Hilary Maiberger didn’t go to school intending to wear that famous yellow dress. In fact, after attending San Diego State University, she got a master’s degree in Vocal Performance from Bowling Green State University to become a teacher.
“I wanted to know everything about the voice and how it works,” she says.
While living in Southern California, she heard that NETworks Presentations was holding auditions in New York for someone to play Belle. She sent in a video submission and was asked to fly in for final callbacks.
“The rest,” she says, “is history.”
From there, the cast had two weeks of rehearsals in New York, followed by almost 500 shows in 18 months. Maiberger and her cast mates will get to Dallas Monday evening for the first show on the 15th.
FrontRow: I’ve heard that Belle is your “dream role.” Is there anything in particular about her that really strikes a chord with you?
Hilary Maiberger: Belle was always my favorite Disney princess growing up. I remember seeing the show when I was ten years old, and leaning over to my mom, saying, “Mom, I want to be Belle one day!” It’s always had a special place in my heart—the film and the character. It’s truly a dream come true.
When the movie came out, I just liked her because I thought she looked like me, with brown eyes and brown hair. As I grew older, I realized she was very modern for her time. She’s not your average Disney princess. She’s really smart, and she wants adventure. She’s not a damsel-in-distress; she’s not looking for a man. Her relationship with her dad is just so special to me, too, because I have a really great relationship with my dad. She’s a very modern young woman for the time the movie came out, and I think that’s why it’s still so popular today.
FR: How about your favorite non-Disney character?
HM: Oh man, just like, anyone?
FR: It’s all on you. Whoever you want to pick.
FR: Right now, I’m in love with Sherlock Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. I also recently just saw Captain America: A Winter Soldier, and Chris Adams—is that his name?—I’m in love. He’s just brilliant.
FR: He’s also quite good-looking, which doesn’t hurt.
HM: Definitely good-looking.
FR: Describe your perfect day off.
HM: Oh my gosh. No travel, at all. On a beach, somewhere eating junk food, just basically being in one place with my friends, no plans, and living in the moment. It’d be carefree and we wouldn’t have to worry about time or needing to be somewhere. That would be the perfect day off. I need one.
FR: Speaking of junk food: if you could only eat one meal forever, what would it be?
HM: It would be some kind of burrito, let’s just say beans, rice, and cheese. I love all those things. I eat like a twelve-year old boy.
FR: What was the last thing you geeked out about?
HM: Oh my gosh, what was the last thing I geeked out about? I did geek out about Captain America a little bit, definitely got into that whole Marvel stuff for a while. There was a time, I think last week, where I watched Monsters University every single day. I also geek out about crafting. I make homemade birthday cards for my fellow cast members. It started out as a few sheets of paper, and now I have a giant craft bag, full of paper, glue, glitter… it’s definitely gotten out a control a little bit, but it’s a lot of fun; it makes the time go by.
FR: What’s your favorite place in the world?
HM: Well, traveling all the time, I feel like my favorite place in the world is home. I don’t get to be home, so whether it be Redwinds, where I live now, or San Diego, where I went to school, I would definitely say just being home is my favorite place in the world.
FR: Rock, paper or scissors?
HM: I’ve never been asked that before! Cool! I feel like I’d go with scissors, but I have no idea why. Maybe because I like the shape or maybe because I’m a crafter? I usually pick scissors, and I lose all the time.