Next month, there will be a five singing Belles in Monkton.
That is, one Belle, or "Beauty," for each of the five productions of "Beauty and the Beast" put on by Artistic Children's Theatre from Oct. 11-14.
Christina Ginder, the theater group's founder and artistic director, said she cast five different girls in the lead role to give more actors a chance to take on the role.
"There are so many very talented actors, singers and dancers in ACT, and my mission is to give as many of them as possible the opportunity to perform on stage in a lead role," Ginder said.
The Belles are Abby Klink, Morgan Dryer, Kelsey Brush, Bailey Heidelbach and Veronica Brown.
"I've been with Chris for seven years and I was always the villain or the comic relief, so I'm thrilled to be a princess in this," Veronica Brown said.
A total of 65 children, ranging in age from 6 to 17, have been rehearsing since August at St. James Academy in Monkton, where the show will take place.
Several other lead roles are shared as well. Harper Craven and Brad Sweigart play the conceited Gaston, who assumes Belle will marry him. Ryan Callahan and Jack Geragthy play Gaston's sidekick, Lefou.
Ian Musciano, who has performed with the theater group for 10 years, will play The Beast and Ben Mann plays Belle's father.
When actors aren't performing their lead roles, they have supporting roles. Ginder even added some characters to the show to give young actors a chance to be onstage.
Ginder relies on families of cast members to help out with making sets, props and costumes. They also volunteer backstage during performances.
"It's a family commitment that bonds families and the community," she said.
St. James Academy is located at 3100 Monkton Road, Monkton. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 11, 12 and 13. There is also a 1 p.m. matinee on Oct. 13 and a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Oct. 14.
To learn more about ACT, go to http://www.actwithact.net. For tickets, go to Seat Yourself at http://www.tinyurl.com/ACTBeauty.