The lead roles of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast have their own “tale as old as time.”

Beauty and the Beast
Johnny and Twyla Wilson as Belle and the Beast ©Nathalie van Empel

The odds are not in Gaston’s favor for yet another reason this time around. BYU’s production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast stars Twyla and Johnny Wilson as Belle and the Beast. They have been happily married off stage since August of 2013.

“He was the definition of sweeping me off my feet without me realizing it,” Twyla said. “He was never pushy and never pressured me, and that’s what stole my heart.”

Twyla and Johnny’s own “tale as old as time” began as they started the Music Dance Theatre program together. The stars and their schedules aligned with the same section of Contemporary Dance 241. Although Twyla’s heart was set on a missionary, Johnny played his cards strategically.

“You have to present yourself as the best option, and let the woman choose.” Johnny said.

The Wilsons enjoy performing together and recognize the benefits of acting as a married couple.

“The ‘love’ in a show with any couple is always the foundation of the character’s interactions and so people who aren’t already in love have to build that.” Johnny said. “Since we already bring [love] into the play it makes building characters who have that relationship a lot easier because we’ve already got the first task of the job done.”

Students at play practice
Married students

With more than fifty rehearsals under their belt, the Wilsons started noticing something there that wasn’t there before in their offstage life.

“You never quite know if you’re letting the show influence your life, or if your life is just reflecting elements of the show,” Johnny said.

Twyla has recognized many parallels between her personal life and Belle’s story.

“I was a band geek, super artsy and one of the few members [of the Church] at my school so I was always really different,” she said.  “I can really relate to Belle when she embraces that, finds herself and loves it. That’s our story.”

Although this is a familiar play of the world-famous movie, a unique perspective of the redemptive power given to fallen man and resurrection into something greater is shown.  Johnny describes his experience as the beast is transformed in the play.

“Twyla and I get done from spinning around and I look in her eyes and look at my hand and I collapse and I start to cry because I realize ‘it’s me.’ We get to share what it might be like to be resurrected,” he said. “It’s all just pretend, but when you’re really pretending professionally, you get close to imagining what something like this might be like.”

The love between these two stalwart actors perfects their portrayal of one of the greatest love stories of all time.

Please be our guest as Twyla and Johnny lead the way in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast running from the 20th of November to the 10th of December to experience your own interpretations of love and redemption.

Jeff Dodenbier
Jeff Dodenbier
Public Relations major at BYU with an emphasis on being a family man and a minor in running, eating cereal and reaching for the stars.
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  • Carri

    Having known these two for several years, but not being able to see the play itself (we are in Washington) I have to use my imagination to picture them in the role of Beast and Belle. It doesn’t take a lot effort! They have always been an amazing couple who compliment each other beautifully. Love them and envy anyone who gets to see them bring Beast and Belle to life.

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