Matt Farcher Plays the Villain Gaston in Disney's Beauty and the Beast

For the longest time, Matt Farcher was going to be a baseball player. That was the plan. He grew up in a tight-knit family and his father loved touring Major League Baseball parks. The dream was to see all of them. When it came time to pick a college, Farcher was going to one with a baseball program. To this day, go to his Facebook page and you'll see a photo of Fenway Park stretched across the top.

But when he was in high school, his sister, who was in a musical that his brother was in also, prevailed upon him to join the musical so they could all be in it together. As it turned out, "They needed someone to do a solo. And my brother volunteered me," Farcher says. A star was born and Farcher began considering an off-the-field career. He ended up going to Pace University in New York City for theater.

At 22, he is now on national tour with Disney's Beauty and the Beast, on its way to Houston to kick off the tenth-anniversary season of Gexa Energy Broadway at the Hobby Center.

He plays the role of the villain Gaston, which means there's some pretty heavy makeup work every day to convert the blond-haired, blue-eyed Farcher into a brunette with a long ponytail and muttonchops.

Farcher doesn't think Gaston is all bad, pointing out the character "has a lot of funny little bits. He doesn't go for the evil, he's just sort of doing it."

While acknowledging that just about everyone has a copy of the 1991 animated version of Beauty and the Beast at home, Farcher says the musical brings a special magic. "You really can't put a price on it. It happens every single night. Little girls run down in their Belle dresses to get as close to Belle as possible."

Farcher still hasn't left all his baseball dreams behind. He's never been in Texas before and is hoping to get over to see Minute Maid Park -- especially the outfield hill, which he thinks is so great that he and a friend built a mockup of it for their games.

Disney's Beauty and the Beast runs September 25-30 at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, visit the theater's website or call 713-315-2525.