It’s a tale as old as time.

Crawfordsville Middle School opens its two-day run of “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” tonight, bringing the classic Disney story about a young woman who falls in love with a cursed prince to the stage. 

Performances begin at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday in the Crawfordsville High School auditorium. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and can be purchased at the door. Children four and under are admitted free.

Seventh grader Devan Johnson plays Belle, who was her favorite Disney princess.

“I love her personality. She’s open to new ideas and she’s very adventurous,” Devan said.

The script closely follows the storyline of the 1991 animated film and includes Belle’s performance of “Hope” from the show’s Broadway version.

Eighth grader Andrew Jones was cast as Beast, his favorite character from the film.

“He’s kind of, like, mean and aggressive and he just turns in to a loving little person,” Andrew said.

New faces are taking the lead in the musical. Devan was selected for her part after playing a Wildcat cheerleader in last year’s production of “High School Musical Jr.” Andrew returned to a main role after being cast last year as basketball captain Troy Bolton.

“It’s a good show,” director Lisa Warren said before a rehearsal this week at the high school. “There are moments where we were getting choked up last night just watching.”

“They really get very passionate about the scene work… there are some very special moments,” Warren added.

The cast and crew recently spent a weekend together practicing their lines and gave residents of a local senior living facility a sneak peek of the show.

“We act like a family,” Devan said. “We’re all together almost all the time and we’ve just become really close.”

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