Susan Egan is taking a step back from the “Disney Princess – The Concert” tour after being diagnosed with the temporary facial paralysis condition, Bell’s palsy.
The actress — who originated the role of Belle in the Broadway production of “Beauty and the Beast” and voiced Megara in Disney’s 1997 animated film “Hercules” — will no longer perform as Belle in the traveling princess production, but will stay on as a producer. Keeping a sense of humor in announcing the news, Egan shared a photo of Disney’s animated Belle raising an eyebrow.
“So, this past week I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy (cute right? Belle!) – a temporary condition which paralyzes one side of the face. I’m told it’s triggered by a virus, and it seems we have one of those lurking about,” she captioned the image.
“I should make a full recovery, but like Justin Bieber (good company!), who announced a similar condition, I’m unable to perform at this time, and thus will not be on tour with Disney Princess – The Concert this fall,” she continued. “I will of course continue in my role as executive producer, alongside my amazing partners, working daily behind the scenes to bring you an absolutely incredible production!”
Egan said that Anneliese van der Pol and Sarah Uriarte Berry will step in to perform in her place.
In her statement, the 54-year-old star is referring to Bieber’s Ramsay Hunt Syndrome diagnosis. Over the summer, the “Peaches” singer was forced to postpone a slew of North American tour dates as he shared his health struggle.
“As you can probably see from my face, I have Ramsay Hunt Syndrome,” Justin told fans in a video message. “…As you can see, this eye is not blinking, I can’t smile on this side of my face, this nostril will not move. So, there’s full paralysis on this side of my face. So for those who are frustrated by my cancellations of the next shows, I’m just physically, obviously not capable of doing them. This is pretty serious, as you can see. I wish this wasn’t the case, but obviously this is my body telling me to slow down. I hope you guys understand. I’ll be using this time to just rest and relax and get back to 100 percent so I can do what I was born to do. But in the meantime, this ain’t it. I gotta get my rest on.”
“After getting off stage, the exhaustion overtook me and I realized that I need to make my health the priority right now,” he said in September after playing a show in Brazil. “So I’m going to take a break from touring for the time being. I’m going to be OK, but I need time to rest and get better.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, Ramsay Hunt syndrome “occurs when a shingles outbreak affects the facial nerve near one of your ears. In addition to the painful shingles rash, Ramsay Hunt syndrome can cause facial paralysis and hearing loss in the affected ear.”
Bell’s palsy, meanwhile, is not accompanied by a rash. It is “a condition that causes sudden weakness in the muscles on one side of the face. In most cases, the weakness is temporary and significantly improves over weeks. The weakness makes half of the face appear to droop. Smiles are one-sided, and the eye on the affected side resists closing.”
Patients suffering from Bell’s palsy typically begin to see symptoms improve within a few weeks and make a complete recovery in about six months.