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Leavelle McCampbell Students to Perform 'Tale as Old as Time'

After months of learning lines, harmonizing on vocals, practicing choreography and rehearsing their parts, students at Leavelle McCampbell Middle School will bring the familiar characters Belle, Gaston and, of course, the Beast, to the stage this weekend.

The school's production of Disney's “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” will open at 6:30 p.m. Friday with a repeat performance at 2 p.m. Saturday at the school at 1120 Weldon Way in Graniteville. Tickets are $5. The production will run about an hour.

The junior adaptation of the classic tale of transformation and tolerance abbreviates the play's action and some music, but the love story of Belle and the Beast remains the same.

Belle is a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress, according to the musical's website. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end, and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.

The production includes new tunes and familiar songs from both the animated film and Broadway production of the show.

Students started working on the production in September, said Charla Coffin, who teaches grades 6-8 chorus. The cast and crew include 40 students, and another 100 chorus students have learned the music to sing with them.

Art students painted and designed sets and collected props, and art teacher Sandra Weeks sewed the Mrs. Potts costume.

“It's been from the ground up,” Coffin said. “It's been an experience from start to finish with the students getting to see how a theatrical production comes together all the way through. It's good for kids to see how you sequence a big project like this and see how you start here, do this next and then how it all comes together.”

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Larry Wood/Aiken Standard