New Canaan High School Theatre presents Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 22, and Saturday, March 23, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the New Canaan High School Auditorium.

Before the matinee, Belle's Banquet will take place 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. It will feature food, games, visits from characters and a special boutique for hair and makeup styling.

As the song says, "a tale as old as time," this story has been around for hundreds of years in various versions. It's the story of a French girl named Belle (played by Christy Coco), who is smart, brave and compassionate. And she's certainly smart enough not to fall for the vane, self-centered Gaston (played by Daniel Klingenstein), who can attract the likes of three Silly Girls (played by Cami Allsteadt, Hayley Charas and Sara Gessinger) but doesn't cut it with Belle. Gaston winds up taking his frustration out, as always, on his bumbling but loyal sidekick LeFou (played by Ryan Prindle).

Belle's father, Maurice (played by Brett Gerardi) is an eccentric inventor who gets lost in the woods and winds up at the Beast's castle. The Beast (portrayed by Vincent DeMarco) who, by the spell of an Enchantress (played by Sara Gessinger) was transformed from prince to beast, will remain hideous looking for the rest of his life unless he can get a girl to love him before his 21st birthday. When Belle's father turns up, the Beast is still showing the unruly side that got him into trouble in the first place and he locks Maurice in a cell.

Belle goes in search of her father and winds up switching places with her father in order to set him free. The Beast, who is starting to soften, lets her go free in the castle and thus she meets some unusual servants who are also under a spell.

Among the servants are a candlestick, Lumiere (portrayed by Taylor Thompson ); a Clock, Cogsworth (portrayed by Jacob Freedgood); a Teapot, Mrs. Potts (portrayed by Eliza Ranieri); her teacup son, Chip (portrayed by Christian Camporin / Jane Patch); and Babette (played by Rebecca Mellinger), the saucy feather duster.

More Information

Fact box

While in her room, Belle meets an operatic fashion guru Wardrobe, Madame le Bouche (played by Tess Musky Goldwyn), who will soon make it clear why her name means Mrs. Big Mouth.

Just as Belle and the Beast are starting to hit it off, Belle learns that her father is in danger in the woods and the Beast allows her to go to him. Then in the nick of time the Beast saves them from attacking wolves and Belle brings her father home.

Gaston, who is driven mad with jealousy that Belle could care for the Beast, bribes Monsiuer D'Arque (played by Jesse Bird) owner of the local asylum to threaten to lock up Maurice unless Belle marries Gaston. Belle refuses and proves her father is not crazy. Foiled by this plan, Gaston gets a lynch mob together to kill the beast in his castle.

In the end, Gaston fails to overtake the Beast. Although stabbed in the back by Gaston, he is given new life, turning back into a handsome Prince as Belle professes her love for him. Sponsors include Ameriprise Mutual, Garden Catering, Karl Chevrolet, Milestones, New Canaan Cleaners, New Canaan Community Foundation, New Canaan Dance Academy, New England Academy of Dance, Parker Ear, Nose and Throat, Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan, The Studio and Walter Stewart's Market.

Tickets for the show and Belle's Banquet are available online at www.newcanaanhighschooltheatre.com, and during show week from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the high school lobby and one hour prior to show times.