CENTERVILLE -- One might think a local musical production this size would only be done in the community theater, or by a high school drama department.
But for at least 15 years now, Centerville Elementary School has staged a full-size play.
With evening shows the remainder of this week, as well as a Saturday afternoon show, students are displaying their talents on the school stage in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast, Jr."
The play opened Tuesday to a big crowd.
"It has been kind of a tradition," said director Suzie Morgan, who also directed last year's production.
Morgan comes to the school with plenty of experience, as she was an assistant director with Rodger's Memorial Theatre.
Morgan chose "Beauty and the Beast, Jr." this year because of her love for the play.
"It is just one of my favorites, it is the most magical," she said.
The story is about an old beggar woman who asked the prince to give her shelter for the night. When he refused, she turned him into a beast, and the castle servants were transformed to objects.
About 115 students from second grade through sixth have parts in two separate casts. And there are a few teachers who also have parts. They have been working on the musical since October.
"I really want to give the kids the experience to share their talents and to learn the arts," Morgan said.
Fourth-grader Ethan Christiansen said he loved playing his part.
"I actually shaved my head," he said, pointing to the bare top of his head.
The only hair on Ethan's head was on the sides, and it was sprayed gray. He also had wrinkles drawn on his forehead.
"I really like it, even though I play kind of a minor part," said Ethan, who plays the part of the bookseller.
Saryna Bavelas, a third-grade student, plays two parts, those of a tree and a villager.
"I like it a lot. I get to run up on stage really quick, yelling a lot in the mob scenes. You use a lot of your energy," she said.
Although Sam Erickson, a sixth-grader, enjoys playing the part of Gaston, a vain, egotistical villain, who is determined to marry the beauty, Belle, he finds other reasons for acting.
"It is just fun to meet new people," he said.
Sam said he met students from his school that he didn't know before taking part in the play.
Ben Larsen plays the part of the Beast, while Erin Dixon plays Belle.
"I like yelling at people," Ben said, while Erin added, "It's just fun to act, and it's fun being the main part."
Andrew Wright is Lumiere, a suave candelabra, who speaks and sings with a French accent.
"I really love acting. I have been in quite a few plays and enjoyed all of them," Andrew said.
Belle's father, Maurice, is played by sixth-grader Ryan Trump, who decided to be in the play because a lot of his friends are in it, and his cousin plays the part of Gaston.
"I did it last year. My favorite thing is having my hair sprayed gray and getting to act crazy," Maurice said.
Caelen Bean, a fourth-grade student, plays the part of Babette, a maid who is turned into a feather duster.
"I get to flirt with a lot of people, and I get to sing and dance," said Caelen, dressed in black and white feathers.
Great scenery decorated the stage, in some scenes as a village, while in others a book store, or a castle, a forest or even a root beer pub.
Students learned acting, working together, art, dancing and singing, ending the production with Belle and the Prince singing, "We are home, we are where we will be forever."