A tale as old as time

Photo by Emily Hawk/Pella Chronicle Elise Pederson and the cast of Union Street Players sing the song "Belle" during rehearsal.

Bringing “a tale as old as time” to a small stage has been quite the challenge. The Union Street Players are putting the final touches on their production of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," and Assistant Director Marti Zylstra is confident in her cast and crew.

“That’s probably our greatest limitation,” said Zylstra, regarding the stage size in the Joan Kuyper Farver Auditorium. “We have so much potential and so many big ideas, but we are very limited in regards to wear we can place those ideas. Everyone has been magnificent about bringing their characters to life to make up what we’re lacking in stage space.”

The crew started the beginning stages of production in January. Behind-the-scenes work included organizing auditions, construction of stage props, marketing and putting together the cast and crew. The cast has been rehearsing four days a week to prepare for their first show on Friday, July 26.

Elise Pederson, who plays the role of Belle, stated there’s a fair amount of pressure to capture such a popular Disney princess in her truest form, but she is determined to bring her to life.

“Belle is such an iconic character,” said Pederson. “I want to make sure that I’m really embodying the role and really being Belle, not just merely saying the lines and singing the songs. I really try to think as Belle and do as Belle so I can play her character the best I can.”

Cory Oltrogge, who plays the role of Prince Adam, originally wasn’t going to audition for the production. However, Oltrogge has been enraptured with the experience, no matter how small the role.

“I’ve had the privilege of being a part of this production,” said Cory Oltrogge. “These guys have been working their butts off to make this production amazing. They’ve been working very hard and have had a lot of challenges … the work and effort that these guys have been putting into this show is absolutely phenomenal.”

The cast and crew will be putting on eight full productions of Disney’s beloved tale. Lonnie Appleby, who plays Lumiere, asks the public to be their guest and join them on July 26, July 30, Aug. 1 and Aug 2 at 7 p.m. and July 27, July 28, Aug. 3 and Aug 4 at 2 p.m. All shows will be performed at the Joan Kuyper Farver Auditorium in the Community Center. Tickets can be found at www.unionstreetplayers.com.