Kids help others with special needs stage 'Beauty and the Beast'

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Each year, the Penguin Project of the Central Wisconsin Childrens Theater gives kids with special needs the opportunity to shine on stage in a fully produced musical. This summer, the children (known as artists) will be aided by other young actors (known as mentors) is set to perform Disney's "Beauty and the Beast Jr." Since its original Broadway production in 1993, it's been a popular choice for theatre groups around the nation.

Mason Wheeler (far left) and Ana Goetz (far right) perform as Gaston and Belle in 'Beauty and the Beast Jr.' with help from mentors Eleanor Schwantes and Megan Gauderman (center).

Sunrise 7's Sean Caldwell spoke with some of the artists: Mason Wheeler (Gaston), Ana Goetz (Belle), Benjamin Schwantes (Beast) as well as mentors Megan Gauderman, Eleanor Schwantes, and Elijah Howard for more on their roles in the show and the rehearsal process.

"BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR." opens Friday, July 19 at 7 p.m. at the Grand Theater in downtown Wausau. There's an additional evening performance Saturday, July 20 at 7 p.m. and a Sunday, July 21 matinee at 2 p.m.

Admission is $15 for adults or $12 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the Grand Theater's website as well as at the door.