Village Arts of Colorado Springs is bringing to life a tale as old as time. Enter into the world of a Disney classic with Broadway’s “Beauty and the Beast.” Director Renee Davis says she’s been thinking about putting this show on for years, developing exciting ideas for the staging.

“It’s been 10 years in the making in my mind. I had all kinds of ideas for how I wanted to do it and do it differently than I had ever seen. Finally we got the rights for it, so it’s now my opportunity to get to do really unusual and fun and different sorts of things.”

In the play, a man rejected by society for his selfishness and hatred eventually transforms into a beast. Belle, who wants more than her small town can offer, falls in love with him and transforms him in more ways than one, making him human again. The well-known story has been given new meaning on stage.

“This is the Broadway Disney version, so it will be very close to what people will know. There are a couple of songs that will be new to people, a little bit of soul searching for Beast and soul searching for Belle, as she’s trying to see where she also went wrong in their relationship,” says Davis.

Belle and some of her magical companions have been visiting area children’s hospitals to spread cheer, and proceeds from the show will benefit Samaritan’s Purse medical ministries, which provides cleft palate surgeries to children in developing countries.

“Here we have people who have pretty much been rejected by their community through no fault of their own, just because they look monstrous,” says Davis. “The organization fixes their faces, and they are welcomed back into the community. I love that.

“The parallel is pretty close. We’ve got Beast, who’s kind of rejected from society because of his monstrous heart and monstrous looks. These children don’t have monstrous hearts; they’ve just been rejected by their society. If we can make any kind of real impact in their world, then we are all about that.”

Like all Disney creations, “Beauty and the Beast” is meant to teach a lesson. The lesson here is love, says Davis.

“I think that there’s a little bit of a beast in all of us, and it really does take the love of someone else to break into that selfish beastly heart and say, ‘You know what? I love you. I love you anyway.’ And that love is the thing that is transformational. And for us, as a Christian organization, that love is Jesus’ love.”

The show runs intermittently through Aug. 10 at Village Seven Church.

“The mission of Village Arts is really to bring classic family-friendly stories to the community in a new and fresh way. It’s about building community.”

Kate Powell, The Gazette,

kate.powell@gazette.com

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