Disney’s classic Beauty and the Beast, which was adapted into a live musical in 1994, opened last weekend at the SCERA Shell, beginning Utah Valley’s outdoor theater season.

UVU’s own Emily Smith will star as Belle, returning to SCERA after playing another Disney princess – Cinderella – several
years ago.

Director Jerry Elison saw almost 200 auditions for the show, and expanded the ensemble to 66 members to accommodate the extra talent.

“This is an enchanting, lovely show,” Elison said. “It has everything the movie did and more. It won Academy Awards for music, and the play has a few new classics as well. It is also visually sumptuous, with spectacular and creative costuming.” Elison, a beloved and prolific local director, has been producing plays and musicals in Utah for 50 years.

The plot of the live musical is the same as Disney’s original movie. Belle, the bookish heroine, meets the transmogrified ex-prince known to terrified locals as the Beast. Belle’s initial horror evolves to annoyance, acceptance, patience and eventually love. Belle’s love saves the Beast not only from death, but also from his gruesome exterior and discontented soul.

The Beast is played by BYU music/dance/theater major Adam Meyers. Others in the cast include Matt Dobson as Gaston, Jim Murphy as Maurice, Laurel Barham as Mrs. Potts, Zach Knowlton as Chip, Josh Curtis as Lumiere, Michael Young as Cogsworth, Ruth Ellis as the Wardrobe and Ryan Knowlton as Lefou.

The SCERA Shell, which generally produces three family-friendly musicals every summer, is again living up to expectations this year with a triad of musical favorites. Beauty and the Beast will continue through June 20, and theatergoers can look forward to West Side Story in July and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in August.

In addition to Beauty and the Beast‘s twelve performances, Be Our Guest With Belle and Friends princess parties, intended for girls aged 3-10, began on June 6 and will continue on June 13 and 20 from 11 a.m. to noon at the Shell. The parties will include a light lunch, games, activities, prizes, crafts and a chance to meet and take pictures with costumed members of the cast. Guests should bring their own camera. Tickets for children are $12, and adult tickets are $5. Children must come with a paying parent or guardian, and reservations are required.

Note: For a review of the show, go to www.uvureview.com

What: Beauty and the Beast

When: Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays June 5-20 at 8 p.m.

Where: SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre, 699 S. State St. in Orem

Price: $8-$10 general admission, $10-$14 for reserved sections

Tickets: Can be purchased at the SCERA’s main box office before the day of the show, at the SCERA Shell’s gate one hour prior to performance, online at www.scera.org, or by calling 801-224-ARTS

Lawn chairs can be rented for $1.