What better way to usher in the holiday season than with the lush fairy tale that is Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast?” This sweeping story of love and redemption opens Dec. 5 and runs through Dec. 16 at Genesius Theatre, located at 10th and Walnut streets in Reading.

Nominated for nine Tony Awards in 1994, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” tells the story of Belle, the bookish daughter of eccentric inventor Maurice who agrees to trade her life for his when he is captured by a beastly creature in a forbidding castle. Unbeknownst to Belle, the castle’s inhabitants are under a spell that was cast when the Beast was a young, arrogant prince; they can only be made human again if he learns to love and be loved before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose.

With gorgeous music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and a book by Linda Woolverton, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” leads audiences of all ages on a journey which shows the unselfish nature of true love, and teaches children of all ages about the benefits of kindness, courtesy and respect.

The Genesius production is helmed by director Christopher Sperat, who says of this show, “It’s the perfect way to get into the true spirit of the holidays.” Other members of the production team include Genesius artistic producer L J Fecho, music director Kevin Cooper and choreographer Jericho Joy, with set and light design by Spencer Moss Fecho, costume coordination by Cathy Roth Miller, hair/makeup design by Carmen Painter of Tina’s Salon and Day Spa and sound design by Albert Garcia of Eko Entertainment, LLC. The set is constructed by Brandon Kegerize, Jeffrey Jones, Mike Maiers and Betty Gerstner, with scenic art by Marjory Ewald, Kaitlyn Reber and Jessica Reber. The show is stage managed by Robert Decker. Costumes are provided by The Costume Shop at Millersville University.

This lavish production features a principal cast of Genesius veterans, including Cecilia Cooper as Belle; Joey Moray as the Beast; Ryan Cunningham as Gaston; James Haggerty as Cogsworth; Alex Krick as Lumiere; Amy Bourey as Mrs. Potts; Hazel Sensenig as Chip; Gabrielle Lewis as Babette; Mike Pardo as Maurice; and Kevin Adams as Monsieur D’Arque. The principal cast is rounded out by Genesius newcomers Joshua Mitchell as LeFou and Ann Kashishian as Madame de la Grande Bouche.

The cast also includes a strong, dynamic ensemble who make the production numbers “Belle,” “Gaston” and the always entertaining “Be Our Guest” memorable moments you’ll be singing for many days after the show ends.

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” opens Wednesday, Dec. 5, and runs Dec. 5, 6, 7, 8 (2 shows), 9, 12, 13, 14, 15 (2 shows) and 16, with possible additional performances based on demand.

Tickets: Student $17.50, Senior $22.50, Adult $28.50, Premium Seats $30 and Deluxe Seats $33. For Tickets please visit www.genesiusdifference.org or call 610-373-9500; credit card fees apply. Tickets are also available at the door.

Genesius Theatre is located at 153 N. 10th St., Reading, PA 19601, and is handicapped-accessible with limited free on-site parking next to the theater. For more information, call the theater at 610-371-8151.

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