BEVERLY - Many girls dream of being a princess.
And that dream came true for dozens of little girls at Fort Frye High School Friday night as the Fort Frye Drama Department presented child friendly performances of Disney's "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty."
"I want to get my picture taken with Cinderella," said 5-year-old Denay Layton of Whipple.
Layton, who got to wear lipstick and came dressed as Sleeping Beauty, got her big chance during intermission when the cast of both plays circulated through the cafeteria handing out hugs and taking pictures.
"As soon as Cinderella came out on stage, she was like entranced," said Layton's mother, Tammy.
Layton was not the only one donning her own princess gear for the plays. The drama department had sent fliers to the local elementary schools encouraging attendees to wear costumes and be a part of the fun.
"Any time we can get kids involved and get them interested in the arts we really try to take advantage of that," said Alana Cunningham, director of the Fort Frye Drama Department.
And the crowd did not disappoint. Many came donning tiaras and decked out in tulle dresses. For those who did not come dressed up, the Fort Frye Drama Department had tiaras and wands on sale for the girls and inflatable swords for the boys.
Though there were more princesses than Prince Charmings in attendance, the cast was confident that the boys would also enjoy the performances.
"They are going to eat it up. There are swords and shields and all kinds of action," said senior Hannah Willey, who played Cinderella.
At intermission, 12-year-old Zach Schilling admitted that he and his friends had enjoyed the performance thus far.
"It was funny," he said.
Members of the cast said they have been eagerly anticipating the play for some time.
"It's exciting to make all of these little kids so happy," said sophomore Natalie Hart, who played Sleeping Beauty.
"They just get so excited to see you," said senior Ellie Schwendeman, who played Cinderella's Fairy Godmother.
Junior Samantha Tilton, who played the villainous Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty, joked that she might have to keep her distance from the children at intermission. But even though she plays the villain, the experience has been exhilarating, she said.
"It's like you are actually at Disney," said Tilton.
The drama department chose the Disney plays because they have had a lot of positive feedback from family friendly musicals in the past, said Cunningham. Two years ago they performed "Seussical," a musical based on the works of Dr. Seuss, and invited children to a Seuss-themed cast breakfast, complete with green eggs and ham.
Many of Friday's attendees had fond memories of that play, including Beverly resident Adria Handley, whose 3-year-old daughter Ellie was dressed as Cinderella.
"We went to see the Dr. Seuss play when they did it and Ellie has been excited for this for weeks," said Handley, of Beverly.
The drama department will put on two performances of the plays today at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.