In addition to preparing for this weekend’s swan song of “Beauty and the Beauty, Jr.,” Playhouse 395 is also recognizing local artistic talent.
The popular Bishop-based theater company offered its first-ever coloring contest recently as part of its Fall Youth Production, completing its two-weekend run this Friday and Saturday.
Playhouse 395 took various characters from the “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” production to a few area schools in our community for a visit, during which time coloring pages were distributed to the students.
In the end, three youth from Grace Lutheran Church Preschool, Bishop Elementary School and Round Valley Elementary School were named the winners.
Six-year-old Eva from Round Valley School was awarded first place and two tickets to a Beauty and the Beast, Jr. performance.
Sierra, a 6-year-old from Mrs. Stoll’s kindergarten class at Elm Street, was awarded second place and a 500-piece “Beauty and the Beast” jigsaw puzzle.
Third-place honors went to 4-year-old Aiden from Grace Luthern Preschool, who won a “Beauty and the Beast” coloring book.
According to Playhouse 395, the coloring contest was both a way to give back to the community and help bring the story of “Beauty and the Beast” to younger generations.
The traditional fairy tale of “Beauty and the Beast” was first published in French in the mid-18th century. Since then, this story about a captive girl and the beast who becomes her friend has been adapted and translated into hundreds of versions worldwide. When Walt Disney Pictures released the animated feature film “Beauty and the Beast” on Nov. 22, 1991, critics praised its “songs worthy of a Broadway musical.” Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” went on to win Academy Awards for Best Song and the Best Original Score and made history as the first animated feature ever nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.
“When the decision was made to actually bring Beauty and the Beast to the Broadway stage, everyone knew that the musical in this new medium had to retain that special magic audiences had come to expect from Disney,” said Playhouse 395 spokesperson Debbie Clarkson.
The Playhouse 395 production team has been preparing for this production over the last six months “to bring a quality production to you and honor Walt Disney,” Clarkson continued. “Of course this would not be possible without the wonderful talent of the individuals who have been cast for this production. Twenty-four amazing actors and actresses have been working hard over the last two-and-a-half months to portray this beautiful tale in live form to the community.”
Playhouse 395’s goal is to sweep audience members away to a French village, an enchanted castle, a dark forest and a rustic hunting lodge where they’ll experience mystery, enchantment, humor, humility, love and transformation.
For ticket information, visit www.playhouse395.com  or call Playhouse’s Box Office at (760)920-9100.