MCDONALD COUNTY, Mo. — Students in an area school district are making a Christmas classic come to life on stage. Every year, students in the McDonald County High School theatre program puts on a holiday production. This year it’s a variation on Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.

This year’s is called “Saved By The Belle,” and centers around the only love of Ebenezer Scrooge’s life, Belle, played by Kaitlyn Epling.

“Does it really get you in the Christmas spirit?” asked Stuart Price, Reporting

“Oh yes it does, I, I started preparing for this even like five months before the actual show starts,” said Kaitlyn Epling, Portrays Belle

Her character plays a bigger role in this version of the story, involving her and about 200 other students from the school system ranging from kids in kindergarten all the way through seniors in high school, like her.

“Belle just goes along with Scrooge and the ghost and just watches how Scrooge changes during the story,” said Epling.

Scrooge is played by Payton Nalley, and if his name doesn’t sound familiar to you yet, just wait a few years, he’ll be trying out for the Julliard School of Performing Arts in New York next month.

“I can’t define what it really is that’s so special about it but it’s, it’s freeing, it’s fun, I get to go up there and just be a different character, I get to have fun and create something and I find a lot of joy in that,” said Payton Nalley, Ebenezer Scrooge.

“This is our biggest production every year,” said Wyatt Hester, Director of Theatre, McDonald County High School.

Over the last four years, both students have been in almost every production. Their director, Wyatt Hester, says not only do the characters they portray evolve from the beginning of a play to the end, so do his students.

“During a show whenever you’re seeing their characters develop it’s really exciting, you know sometimes you think, ‘where are they going with this?’ And then the kids just give us such a wonderful, do a wonderful job, it just really makes you proud of them. I love my kids and they’re pretty incredible,” said Hester.