Upland Country Day School’s sixth and seventh grade production of Disney’s musical “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” premiered last week with two full-house shows on the Upland stage. 

Upland hosted a group of students from local preschools and the Kennett Mom’s Club to the matinee performance. The cast and crew, comprised of 35 sixth and seventh graders, rehearsed for more than three months to stage the show.

Upland’s production was directed by Deb Phillips, director of theatre arts at the school. 

Based on the 1991 Academy Award-winning animated film, “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.

Phillips said she believes that theater is vital to a student's educational experience. Being involved in a production, onstage or backstage, gives students confidence in their abilities, and the ability to take risks, both qualities that will serve them well in life. Every student at Upland 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.