Actors in the Biddeford Middle School Drama Club production of Beauty and the Beast JR.  look menacing in this scene, as rehearsed March 9. The curtain rises on the musical at 6:30 p.m. March 23 at the school’s performing arts center. Tammy Wells Photo

BIDDEFORD — Brooke Archambault, as Lefou, in “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast JR,” let out a scream — the sort of scream that permeates. She and the other cast members, all Biddeford Middle School students, were on stage, in rehearsals ahead of the Thursday March 23 opening of the musical at the Performing Arts Center at Biddeford Middle School.

Archambault, now 13,  said she was 7 years old when she saw ‘High School Musical,’ performed by Twin City Theater. That was it, Archambault said she knew, right then, that acting and theater was what she wanted to do with her life.

“After I watched it, I marched up to the director,” and asked to be in the next show, she said.

Kyle Perkins plays several roles in Beauty, including a book seller, Monsieur D’Arque and the young prince.

“I like acting,” he said. “And even if I don’t get the part I want, I like playing a role, and … learning how the character feels and what it does.”

People will be able to see the 60-minute musical, free, Thursday March 23 and Friday March 24. The curtain at the performing arts center at Biddeford Middle School will rise at 6:30 p.m. The show, designed for middle school-aged performers, is based on the 1994 Broadway production and Disney’s 1991 animated feature film. The Biddeford Middle School Drama Club’s cast includes 70 students led by teachers Rob Petit and Coleen Hatt.


Actors rehearse a scene from Beauty and the Beast JR., which debuts at Biddeford Middle School Performing Arts Center on March 23 for a two night run. Curtain rises at 6:30 p.m. for this free event. Tammy Wells Photo

“The students have worked very hard to learn the music, choreography, and roles for ‘Beauty and the Beast JR,’” said Hatt. “We have a wonderful show and are very excited to share this musical with our community!”

Petit, directing the action on a recent rehearsal day, said the show was cast in December and rehearsals — twice a week, commenced in January.

“Beauty and the Beast JR” tells the story of Belle, an adventurous young girl, played by Brittany Hamilton and the Beast, her hideous captor, played by Joseph Debois, a young prince trapped under a spell. With the help of the castle’s enchanted staff, including a loving teapot, a charming candelabra, and a nervous mantel clock, Belle and the Beast find a beautiful friendship and love that neither knew was possible.

“Beauty and the Beast JR” features classic songs from the Academy Award-winning film score such as “Be Our Guest” and “Belle,” as well as original songs from the 1994 Broadway musical.

Seating is general admission for both shows, with doors opening at 6 p.m.

For some, drama club at BMS is a family event. Kelly Archambault, Brooke’s mother, said she helps backstage, paints set and does other volunteer tasks, and her husband, David, carries out set construction projects.

Dubois, the “Beast,” has several other acting credits — he played in “Willie Wonka,” “Lion King,” and the part of a robot in “Robot Restaurant” when he was in third grade.

“It’s fun, I like it a lot,” he said.

“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast JR” is presented through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International, school officials said.

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