Students shine in Beauty and the Beast

Photos by OJ Stapleton|NDL The Beast, played by Zach Baker, comes out of his lair to find Belle, played by Rachel Cunningham, and her father, played by Sean Simpson. The play Beauty and the Beast, Jr., was performed Friday and Saturday at the Russellville High School deGraffenreid Auditorium.

Gaston, played by Aaron Cunningham, and Lefou, played by Noah Brown, perform their roles in Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Lumiere and Babette are on stage during the performance. They were played by Ariana Pedigo, Brittany Carter, Molly Bell and Hannah Lawrence.

Some of the townspeople gather and talk during the opening scene of the play.

The fifth annual Russellville Arts Council summer drama camp wrapped up over the weekend with three performances of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

The production had some of the most elaborate sets and costumes yet and the children’s performances were up to the same level.

“When I went to church Sunday morning, I had several people telling me that this was the best we’ve ever done,” said Larry Vaught, who served as director for the play. “They were just blown away by the entire production.”

Students worked Monday through Friday at Russellville High School to get ready for the production and then had one show Friday evening and two performances on Saturday.

“From my perspective as a director, I really was overwhelmed with the talent that we had and the dedication that I saw in our actors,” Vaught said. “They worked tirelessly and gave 110 percent to their roles. We had a very creative, fun loving cast that supported each other very well.”

The play and drama camp could not have been nearly as successful without a solid group of parent volunteers, many of which went the extra mile to make sure it was a memorable weekend for all involved.

“I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of volunteers and the concern they showed for the little things to make it special for our cast such as the cast party and the photographs in the lobby,” Vaught said. “There was a lot of pride in the kids and that showed.”

Vaught said that this will not be the last production of this type and the Russellville Arts Council will have big plans for more productions going forward.

“The overall feeling we had at the conclusion of this week was the potential we have for the future,” Vaught said. “Our community is worthy to have plays throughout the year for a variety of ages – including adults – and we are considering possibilities for the future.”

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