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From Hoofs to Horns, Makeup Artists Turn Man into Showstopping "Beast"

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RALEIGH — Every night before the stage lights go on, something else goes on to transform a 38-year-old actor into a beast.

Four hundred times a year, Grant Norman plays the lead role in the musical Beauty and the Beast. Before every performance, he spends an hour in a chair while three make-up artists work their magic.

The first artist adds a nose, fangs, whiskers, wrinkles and a rainbow of mascara.

"You have to pace yourself more because the heat can exhaust you by the end of the show," says Norman.

Next comes the hair, fur, and more makeup.

All of this happens as hundreds of people are making their way into the auditorium.

Next comes the body suit.

"It's sort of like wearing a parka and then doing a show," Norman says.

In addition to three microphones, the outfit includes padding, boots, horns and lots and lots of fur.

The outfit weighs 30 pounds. On stage it makes Norman's 6'3" frame look even more imposing as he dwarfs his leading lady.

Norman welcomes the challenge of playing one of the most famous roles in the world.

"You don't really get to choose the roles you play. They choose you," he says.

There is beauty in the musical, and for Grant Norman, all the preparation and extra effort is worth it

"It's not too much of a celebrationbecauseyou get it. It's a celebrationifyou get it and you do it well and you have a good time while you're doing it," he says.

Beauty and The Beast runs through May 7 at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium.

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David Crabtree, Reporter
Chad Whisnant, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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