Starting on March 30, the Haverhill High School Theater Crew will present Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."

More than 70 students are taking part in this musical rendition of the classic French fairy tale. More than 30 of the students will take to the stage, while the rest work behind the scenes to bring a fantasy castle to life.

A popular story for more than 200 years, the tale took on a renewed significance in the early 1990s with Disney's version, told through song and computer-assisted animation, receiving heavy play in both theaters and on VCRs throughout the country.

For many of the students taking part in the production, it's a labor of love to recreate a defining childhood movie.

Two actresses bearing heavy burdens in the school play are Marissa Comeau and Becky Gregg, both taking on the role of "Princess Belle.''

Comeau, a senior, said she jumped at the opportunity to simply take part in the play, but couldn't contain her excitement when she was chosen for the lead role, noting the impact the movie had on her childhood.

"I have to be a part of this," she said. "It's 'Beauty and the Beast.' I figured why not go out on a limb and try it?"

She said earning one of the lead roles took her by surprise, considering this is only the second production at Haverhill High in which she's taken part. She said her time as an actor at the school has helped her grow and feel a part of a spirited community.

"It's been one of the best experiences of my life," she said.

Actors aren't the only group brimming with excitement and anticipation. The frequent costume changes, elaborate make-up and prop-heavy sets are challenging the tech crew.

"It's going to be pretty intense," said makeup artist Taylor Frotten, a senior. "Even if this is a school production, we're going as big as possible."

Frotten's crowning work in the production can be see right in the beast — his furry look and ferocious fangs are her handiwork.

As they get ready for opening night, students echoed the sentiments of Danielle McDonald, who's taking on the role of "Mrs. Potts.''

"I'm pretty honored to be in it," she said.


What: Haverhill High School presents Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"

When: Wednesday, March 30, Thursday, March 31, and Friday, April 1, at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, April 2, at 2 and 7 p.m.

Where: Haverhill High School Auditorium, 137 Monument St.

Cost: $8 general admission, $5 for students and senior citizens

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