Local thespians will be telling a tale as old as time in their upcoming production.

The Center Grove Fine Arts Academy will be performing “Beauty and the Beast,” at 7 p.m. April 28 and 29 and 3 p.m. April 30 at T.C. Howe High School, 4900 Julian Ave., Indianapolis. The Center Grove Fine Arts Academy is affiliated with Center Grove Church.

Mark Landis, music director, tells you what you need to know.

How many students are involved?

We have 108 extremely talented students age 9 to 19 performing in this full-length production with full pit orchestra.

How much are tickets?

Folks can purchase tickets ahead of time for just $5 for adults and $3 for students. Tickets will be available at the door as well for $6 and $4. People can select their seat and get the best seats in the house if they purchase ahead of time.

Why did you choose this production?

“Beauty and The Beast” has a wonderful storyline, one of transformation. The characters each have a transformation that occurs inside and some even on the outside. Belle begins judging those she meets in the castle, especially The Beast, but as she gets to know The Beast and others in the castle she begins to see the ‘real,’ the heart of the matter, inside of them and her heart begins to change towards them. The Beast has a more obvious transformation on the outside, but it is because of the softening of his heart that the transformation takes place.

The story of “Beauty and The Beast” is one that many know and love, and we are excited to bring it to life on the stage. We were even more excited to know that Disney was releasing the new live film of “Beauty and The Beast,” in March and we’re producing the stage musical just a month after their release.

What do you want students to get out of it?

We hope that the students come away from this production knowing more about the theater, but more importantly more about who God calls them to be and how He calls them to be transformed by His love, grace and mercy. The story of transformation in “Beauty and The Beast” has many parallels to the journey we make in Christ. We hope that through the rehearsals and performances students build relationships with those in the cast and directors such that they feel they have a family who loves them as Christ loves them, no matter where they may be on their personal faith walk.

What do you want audiences to get from it?

We believe the audiences will be entertained and enjoy seeing a familiar story come to life. We hope that they walk away thinking, as have been the case for our previous shows, “I went to see a kids production, but that was an amazing show and I didn’t feel like I saw a kids production, but a professional group.”

How is this production different from other productions you’ve done?

This production is the largest production we’ve ever done with 108 students, and a full pit orchestral accompaniment. It requires more technical aspects than previous productions, but more importantly we’re planning the largest community outreach with this production. T.C. Howe High School has a very underutilized auditorium that seats 1,152 students. We have partnered with T.C. Howe to have students come see a school day show of the production, and will be giving each student at Howe a ticket to see the show and those in the community around Howe will also receive the opportunity to come see the show at no cost. We plan to sell approximately 400 tickets per performance and give away most of the remaining seats. We believe this is an opportunity to further share the fine arts to the community.