It is indeed "a tale as old as time," as the title song says, one that reminds us that the beauty hidden inside a person is what's truly worth discovering.
That's the message Brett Cottone hopes audiences will take away from the Community Players Theatre new production of the Broadway musical, "Beauty and the Beast." Cottone is the president of the theater board.
This is the second time in 10 years Community Players is presenting the show. It was so popular the first time the theater board decided to bring it back.
This time promises to be no different. Opening night July 8 was sold out. The show continues July 14-17 and 21-24.
The current production features elaborate dance numbers, costuming and make-up, paired with the memorable score many have come to know from the original animated Disney film version of the story. The stage version also contains several additional songs written for the Broadway production.
Cottone said the current production, unlike the one 10 years ago, contains rear projection scenery that evokes the Beast's baroque castle as well as the haunting woods that bring together the heroine, book-loving Belle, and the forsaken Beast, struggling to unleash his true self.
"Throughout the show, she is pulling things out of him that were already there that he either lost over time or never knew he had," said Sean Stevens, who plays the Beast."That's why it's such a classic story."
Stevens played in the ensemble of an earlier production of "Beauty and the Beast." His interpretation of the Beast, he said, tries to underscore a classic Disney message: that love leads to transformation.
Cottone said audiences will find many similarities between the animated film and the stage production, "We are trying to make a living cartoon," he added.
"Beauty and the Beast" is one of two Disney musicals playing over the next two weekends in the Twin Cities. The Normal Parks Department's High School Summer Musical program is presenting "The Little Mermaid," July 14-17 and July 21-24.