I met the stars of Beauty and the Beast, Sydney Torres and Miguel Angel Vasquez, along with Executive Producer Wendy Hall and Executive Director Diane DiCroce, and I can promise you with certainty that this production at New Bedford's Zeiterion Performing Arts Center will definitely rock your boat.

However, I want to look at the story, "a tale as old as time," and peek into the substance of it.

Based on the classic fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, Beauty and the Beast is based on a true story that inspired Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740 to write it. The French author was stirred by the real-life story of Petrus Gonsalvus and his bride-to-be, Catherine.

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The kids will love the show with all the catchy songs and the elaborate set and colorful costumes, and they'll come away with their own conclusions. But what does Beauty and the Beast teach us adults? This tale has so much meaning to millions of people around the world. Is there a hidden message that speaks to you?

One important takeaway is to value your inner characteristics like tolerance, kindness and goodness over the superficial qualities like appearance. That means actually thank and celebrate the benevolence within you.

Will you identify more with one character than the other? I believe, hidden within this powerful story, Beauty and the Beast is about realizing we are capable of being both. Belle is beautiful because she is thoughtful, funny and very smart – but the Beast has inner beauty as well, only he had to take some back roads to get there to find his true self.

We all have a beauty and a beast inside us. It's just up to us which one we show to the world.

Beauty and the Beast runs July 22-31. For tickets call (508) 996-2900.

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