For Disney fans in the Knoxville area, Sept. 30 through Oct. 1 was a dream come true. The Tennessee Theatre's Broadway series brought Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" to the stage.

More than half an hour before the performance began, crowds were already lining up outside the theater in preparation for the event.

Many people were excited about the experience as a whole.

"I love coming to the theatre and seeing everything live," Patricia Copeland of Kodak, Tenn. said. "Seeing all the little girls here dressed up as Belle is really fun. It's a great experience to be able to come."

For some, it was expected to be a learning experience as well.

Brandy Arnold, teacher at Jefferson County High School, said that they are using this performance to inspire their students, who will be performing "Beauty and the Beast" as their senior production.

"We look forward to having the opportunity to see it here first and then perform in March," Arnold said.

Other Jefferson County theater students were in attendance as well.

"I'm excited to see how the characters act," Kaitlyn Reed, an actress in JCHS's production, said. "It will give me a better perspective on how to act onstage. I'm also looking forward to the dancing. I've been a dancer for forever, so it will be good."

The performance began with the overture, and a narrator's voice told the story of the spoiled, selfish prince who was cursed by an enchantress to become a hideous beast until he could find true love.

Then the lights came up and the first musical number "Belle" began.

Many of the larger musical numbers were met with applause and the audience sang along. The production also featured the use of several different types of theatrical special effects. At the end of "Be Our Guest," streamers shot out over the audience while the audience clapped and cheered.

Other special effects included the use of large, lifelike puppets during the two wolf attack scenes. The Beast's transformation into the prince was done through the use of cables to lift the actor into the air. Smoke, fog and strobe lighting were also incorporated into the performance.

The special effects could not tell the story alone, however. That is where the music came in.

The play had each of the classic songs, such as "Belle," "Beauty and the Beast," "The Mob Song" and "Be Our Guest." The Broadway adaptation also contained several new musical numbers, including a new song for Beast called "If I Can't Love Her." Belle also gained a new song called "A Change in Me," which depicted the moment Belle began to realize that she was in love with Beast.

"It was really good," Ben Bean, a senior in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology and theater, said. "It was tugging my heartstrings when she was singing. It was awesome."

After the performance, the crowd spilled onto the street to take pictures with the marquee poster and talk about the performance.

Some attendees found the differences between the play and the movie to be the best part.

"Well, I really love 'Human Again,'" William Young, junior in plant sciences and theater, said. "In the play, not in the movie. They're not completely different, but I think the differences make it special to go see one and then the other."

The students from Jefferson County High School took more away from the play than just watching a performance.

Darby Atchley said she hopes to learn what she saw in her performance for her school's play.

"Everything was really flashy and showy," Atchley said. "People put a lot of hard work into it."