Upland Country Day School’s 6th & 7th grade production of Disney’s beloved musical Beauty and the Beast Jr. premiered last week with two full house shows on the Upland stage. Upland hosted a group of delighted students from local preschools and the Kennett Mom’s club to the matinee performance. The Beauty and the Beast cast and crew, comprised of 35 6th and 7th graders had been rehearsing for more than three months, (working around more than a few snow day delays,) to bring the classic “Tale as Old as Time” to life with all the favorites from the Broadway production… dancing flatware, singing furniture and delightful characters - and it turns out the gray stuff really is delicious.
The production featured music by Alan Menken and lyrics by the late Howard Ashman, with additional songs with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice. The book Beauty & the Beast was written by Linda Woolverton. Upland’s production was directed by Deb Phillips, Director of Theatre Arts at the school.
Based on the 1991 Academy Award-winning animated film, “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” is the classic tale of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress. 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.
Director Deb Phillips said she believes that middle and high school theatre in general is vital to a student’s educational experience. Being involved in a production, onstage or backstage gives students confidence in his or her abilities, and the ability to take risks, both qualities that will serve them well in life. Every student at Upland, from Pre-K to 9th grade participates in a full scale dramatic production each year.
Upland’s Beauty and the Beast cast included Lucie Dionne as Belle, Lain Singer as The Beast, Cass Ledyard as Gaston, Rachel Hyzny as Mrs. Potts, Andrew McCrystal as Lumiere, Sam Stiefel as Cogsworth, Rylee Tilton as Babette and Ceci Fralick as Madame de la Grande Bouche.
Every student in the 6th and 7th grades contributed in all aspects of the production whether as an actor, set design or on the technical team. From Bye Bye Birdie to Macbeth, Upland Country Day School is host to numerous musicals and plays each year. Each class from Pre-Kindergarten through 9th grade, rehearses and performs a dramatic production annually.