Paige O’Hara is widely known as Disney’s heroine, Belle, in the critically acclaimed, Oscar-winning animated film Beauty and the Beast, a Disney Classic which she proudly added to a career that has spanned from Broadway to opera, concert stages, and recordings. This was followed with the multi-million selling video Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and a Grammy for Beauty and the Beast Children’s Singalong. Paige recorded a music video with Richard Sherman for a newly discovered song “Never Land” that is included on the Peter Pan DVD release, and made her Disney on-screen debut in the feature film Enchanted. Most recently, Paige performed and participated in the D23 event in Anaheim where she was inducted into the Disney Legends — an honor and highlight of her 20+ year career with Disney.
Her many stage appearances include playing Ellie May Chipley in the Broadway revival of Showboat starring Donald O’Connor; as Fantine in the award-winning Les Miserables on Broadway; and as Edwin Drood in both the Broadway and national tour of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. She starred as Nellie Forbush in the Australian tour of South Pacific and reprised the role opposite Robert Goulet in the states. Paige has played the title role in Evita; worked opposite Jose Ferrer in Paint Your Wagon and achieved great critical acclaim in Los Angeles as murderess Winnie Ruth Judd in the drama Tiger Lady.
In concert, she has appeared in stagings of Sitting Pretty, The Cat and the Fiddle, Oh Boy, and Lady! Lady!, all at Carnegie Hall, as well as One Touch of Venus at Town Hall. She has toured Japan as a Special Guest Star with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and was the Special Guest Star/Host in The Great Radio City Music Hall Spectacular at the Flamingo Hilton. As a concert soloist, Paige has guest-starred at the Hollywood Bowl, the Boston Pops, the Turin Opera House in Turin, Italy, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan, as well as making many appearances with various symphonies across the US. Paige completed a highly successful, sold out 20-city tour of Japan as a Special Guest Star with the Tokyo Philharmonic in Disney on Classic, and appeared as the Special Guest of Robert Goulet in his concert evening A Man and his Music, which played at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas.
Paige’s many recordings include Jerome Kern’s Sitting Pretty; Mack and Mabel in Concert, recorded live in London with an all-star cast including Tommy Tune, Georgia Brown, and George Hearn; and a new and complete version of South Pacific with Justino Diaz. Two other recordings, Showboat and Of Thee I Sing, were nominated for a Grammy in the Best Show Album category. She has starred in England as Venus in the BBC’s recorded broadcast of the live presentation of Kurt Weill’s One Touch of Venus, and recorded a solo album of Jerry Herman’s music titled Loving You.
Currently, Paige is on hiatus from the long running hit Menopause The Musical at Harrah’s and she continues to record various projects for Disney. She is working on a new musical based on the life of Judy Garland, which had a workshop production in Phoenix and is being re-written.
Paige’s love of painting began when she was a child. Her father was an architect, so drawing and painting was very much a way of life. Her first acting teacher actually tried to convince her to pursue her art instead of her acting and singing — advice Paige was probably fortunate not to have taken! Although Paige has found so much success as an actress, painting has always been her way to relax and escape. Much of her time was spent studying and learning from the masters — Turner, Sargent, Da Vinci — and although she does not have formal training, her years of practice are evident. When she first moved to New York, she helped support herself by selling her works on the street. As her stage career flourished, she painted for herself and started doing paintings for birthday presents. But fate stepped in when Paige was doing a signing event in LA — she had brought one of her “Belle” pieces to display for the first time to the public, and the head of Disney Fine Art saw her work and told O’Hara, “It’s time you joined Disney Fine Art.”
So Paige began working on a series of paintings based on her favorite moments from Beauty and the Beast — loosely titled “Belles By Belle” — and it has been a dream come true for her. With over a dozen originals and reproductions already completed, perhaps her acting teacher was right all along! The gift of Beauty and the Beast in Paige’s life just goes on — as Belle would say, “Who’d have ever thought that this could be?”