Hannah Brumfield, Morgan Coy and Olivia Smith portray Arielís Mersisters with various sea creatures, Ameila Peck, Megan Giese, Brooklyn Reding and Jacey Heidt.
Photos by Karen M. Jorgensen
By Karen M. Jorgensen
A break from school did not stop the cast and crew of Kasson-Mantorville High School's "The Little Mermaid" from showing up to get ready for the upcoming performances.
Opening night for "The Little Mermaid" is Nov. 4.
"They are very excited about it," said Director Bernie Buehler of the cast of third through 12th graders. Add the behind-the-stage workers to the cast and more than 100 students are involved.
"The Little Mermaid" is based on one of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen's most beloved fairy tales, and also on the animated film by Walt Disney, Buehler said.
Ariel, King Triton's youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Erik in the world above, explained Buehler. She bargains with Ursula, the evil sea witch, to trade her mermaid's tail for legs.
But the bargain, Buehler said, is not what it seems and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends, including Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull and Sebastian the crab, to restore order under the sea.
Heading the cast is Aubrey Zea as Princess Ariel; Justin Kleper as Prince Eric, Gabby Thomas as Ursula, Zach Trapp as King Triton, Ben McCaskey as Sebastian, Dane Holmes as Grimbsy, Caden Quattrin as Flounder, Nathan Dickey as Scuttle.
Portraying the Mersisters, the older daughters of King Triton are Morgan Coy, Rachel Christenson, Olivia Smith, Ashley Johnson and Gabrielle Alvarado.
While many of the main speaking roles are played by students in the middle and high schools, a number of third and fourth graders from the elementary school are playing roles as the various sea creatures.
Buehler is directing the musical with the assistance of Tony Boldt, Andrew Faller and Melisa Ferris. Music will be by members of the K-M band as well as some additional adult musicians, he said. Boldt will lead the music.
Last Friday morning saw the students working on sets.
Rehearsals and set construction were going well, Buehler said, "although it's always intense the last two weeks."
There is lots of technology involved in this production, he said, and with 50 unique sounds being needed it requires more than the live orchestra.
The orchestra itself, he said, involves 25 musicians including members of the high school band and string players. In addition, he said, the production will make use of four laptops and software to provide the many undersea sounds needed.
All of the sets need to be mobile, said Ferris, either on wheels or able to be attached to a bar and lifted above the stage.
The students working Friday on the sets were mostly attaching paper mache to frames for the movable sets.
Gabby Thomas was working on a two-sided set, one side of which would be the backdrop for her character, Ursula.
Gabby, a junior, described her character as "kind of like a mean aunt. She's very slimy in a way.
"She likes to trick people to do what she wants," Gabby said.
In the play Ursula, she said, is Ariel's aunt but not a mermaid. Instead she is an "octopus sea witch, big and bold."
Quite a change, Gabby and both Buehler and Ferris said, from her role in last year's musical where she played Maria in "Sound of Music."
It's going to be a fun show, Gabby said.
"It's really fun," she said, "my first show being a villain."
This version of The Little Mermaid is a musical, Buehler said, with songs including "Under the Sea," "Kiss the Girl" and "Part of Your World."
Last year, Buehler said, the production of "The Sound of Music" featured actors from a mixture of grade levels and it went over so well that it was decided to use an all-school format this year also.
It was also decided to continue last year's meal and musical packages for some performances.
The show will play at the Minnesota Wi-Fi Performing Arts Center at the school on Nov. 4, Nov. 5 and Nov. 9-12. Seafood dinners will also be available on Nov. 4 and Nov. 11.
More information about tickets, prices and purchasing tickets is available on the Kasson-Mantorville High School website.