ELIZABETH – The very special troupe CAU Community Players are returning to the local stage this summer with their new production, “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” CAU Community Players comprises people with disabilities who are members of Community Access Unlimited (CAU) and actors from throughout the Union County community and beyond, including student and members of other community groups.
“Beauty and the Beast Jr.” will be held at Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield Friday, June 28, Saturday, June 29, and Sunday, June 30. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Pre-sale ticket prices are $10 for adults and $8 for students, children and seniors and are available online at www.caucommunityplayers.com. Tickets at the door the day of the performance will be available for $10 each.
All proceeds go toward supporting the programs and services of Community Access Unlimited, which supports people with disabilities and at-risk youth to help them live independent and fulfilled lives within the community. Programs include housing, vocation and life skills training and advocacy, among others.
“Beauty and the Beast Jr.” is the tale of very different people finding strength in one another and learning how to love. In Disney’s classic story set in provincial France, Maurice becomes lost in the woods on the way to the fair. He seeks shelter in an old castle but the master of the castle is a horrible beast that takes him captive. Maurice’s daughter, Belle, must give up her freedom to save his life. Belle’s interaction with the other characters, which are very different from her, and her eventual taming of the unfortunate Beast and his ultimate transformation back into a handsome prince teach a lesson of accepting and embracing those who are different.
“This is an ideal production for the CAU Community Players because it parallels the message embedded in everything we do at Community Access Unlimited,” said Sid Blanchard, CAU executive director. “People with disabilities have the same value and ability to contribute to the community as everyone else in society yet are too often viewed as apart.
“The members of CAU Community Players, both those with disabilities and those without, interacting, working together and staging wonderful productions demonstrate the value that comes from acceptance.”
Last year the CAU Community Players staged “Suessical Jr.,” which carried the similar message of kindness, acceptance and self-esteem and that no one should feel lonely, small or insignificant because everyone can have a meaningful impact in life.
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