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Athens Community Theatre (ACT) is preparing to present the fall 2021 production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” with a run of eight performances from Sept. 30 through Oct. 10. Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows are at 7 p.m., while Sunday matinees take place at 2 p.m.

The story is of Belle — a young woman in a provincial town — and the Beast — who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress.

According to a news release, “If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed into 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.”

ACT veteran Tyler Peaden is the director of this production, while seasoned AACA performer and musician Matthew Crabtree serves as music director and Andrea Lynn is choreographer. The leadership team also includes Larae Graves as stage manager, Dr. Keith Wheeler as assistant music director, and Elijah Sharp as assistant choreographer.

Miriam Offutt (Belle) and Jacob Efaw (Beast), who have starred in ACT JR productions, make their debut with leading roles in a full-length production in this show. Last seen as Gomez in “Addams Family,” Bobby Bee returns to the stage as Gaston and Chrissy Baker plays Mrs. Potts in her first ACT performance since “Legally Blonde.”

Many ACT veterans round out the cast and crew, including Leslie Arnold, Holland Borwick, Kelly Borwick, Lyella Borwick, Tallulah Borwick, Blake Chastain, Raegan Graves, Taylor Johnson, Natalie Leonesio, Cynthia Webb McCowan, Sarah Offutt, Alexia Taylor, Maddie Watts, Michael Webb, and Ryan Worden.

ACT welcomes Troy Jelley as Maurice, as well as other newcomers Angela Keener, Jay Keener, and Maddie Wilson-Smith.

Tickets are on sale now. Adult tickets are $20 and student tickets are $15 and are available over the phone with card payment, in person at The Arts Center or online at athensartscouncil.org

The news release stated, “As AACA returns to presenting live events after a period of suspended programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our top priority is the safety and security of our audiences, performing artists, crew, and staff. We ask everyone to make choices that contribute to public safety so we can remain open and present live programs and events to support our mission. To provide as safe an environment as feasible, effective immediately and until otherwise amended, all events, whether public or private, will be subject to COVID-19 protocols approved by the AACA Board of Directors. These protocols require all audience members, performers, and crew to wear masks at The Arts Center and other safety procedures, including designating certain performances that will require proof of vaccination to attend. AACA advises the public to read its full COVID-19 protocol before purchasing tickets to a performance.”

The COVID-19 protocols may be viewed at www.athens

protocols/

The Arts Center is located at 320 North White Street in Downtown Athens. Staff is available for questions during business hours, which are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 423-745-8781, follow The Arts Center on Facebook, or visit athensartscouncil.org

“Beauty and the Beast” is sponsored by Valley Oil Company. All Athens Community Theatre productions are sponsored by Dogwood Dental Care, Grover Thurman, CPA, Kiwanis Club of Athens, Muddy Waters Wine & Spirits, Starr Regional Medical Center, and Willhite and Mitchell, PLLC. All performances presented by Athens Area Council for the Arts are sponsored by The Retirement Guys. Edward Jones of Athens, Willsonthropic, Inc., and Wolfenden Family Pharmacies are AACA premiere sponsors and support all programming, as do the National Endowment for the Arts and Tennessee Arts Commission.

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