Drama Club to Present ‘The Little Mermaid’ this Weekend

Junior Zeynep Yazar stars as Arielle in The Little Mermaid.
Junior Zeynep Yazar stars as Arielle in “The Little Mermaid”.
Jessie Gao

Just four and a half months since their last show, the theater program will be back on the stage this weekend with their musical adaptation of The Little Mermaid, directed by Topher Helm and Johnathan Luster.

Similar cast, different product. The Little Mermaid is an upbeat, colorful, vibrant and family-friendly production, which is far different from the spooky musical that was appropriately performed the weekend before Halloween. 

The cast has learned to adjust to different types of productions.

“The shows are very different; however, I believe our cast is talented enough to [pivot] between the two shows,” junior Michael Karas wrote in a text message. 

The Disney production is loosely inspired by a Danish fairy tale from 1836 by Hans Christian Andersen. Disney has released two adaptations of the story, the first back in 1989 and the second a live action version just last year. 

The plot revolves around Ariel, a mermaid, falling in love with a human, Prince Eric, after she saves him from drowning. In the story, humans and mermaids are not allowed to interact with each other. Ariel visits Ursula the Sea Witch, who agrees to turn her into a human, and she must kiss Prince Eric within three days so she can belong to him forever.

According to junior Michael Karas, the drama club has faced some challenges in producing The Little Mermaid.

One challenge has been that they had a month less of rehearsal time than last year’s Spongebob spring musical, given that this show is in mid-March instead of mid-April as it was last year. The directors have compensated for this by adding more rehearsals. Additionally, this is a Disney production, which comes with a whole set of differences. 

Directors for high school theatrical productions must buy the rights to perform the script from one of many companies who sell them. The rights for The Little Mermaid were bought from Music Theatre International (commonly known as MTI)

“Disney shows are typically much more expensive and harder to produce,” senior Aidan Ward said. “Authenticity is a priority along with the restrictions given from [MTI].” 

Junior Zeynep Yazar is cast as Ariel, 8th grader Eli Ward as Prince Eric, senior Aidan Ward as Grimsby and Chef Louis, senior Lex Johnson as Scuttle, 8th grader JD Henz as Flounder, junior Michel Karas as Sebastian, junior DeShaun Williams as King Triton, junior Rachel Kantraovich as Ursula, freshman Romi Balkan as Flotsam, Adrina and a princess, junior Erika Marquardt as Jetsam and senior Arielle Epstein as Aquata.

Additionally, many middle schoolers are cast in supporting roles.

Disney shows are typically much more expensive and harder to produce. Authenticity is a priority along with the restrictions given from [MTI].

— Senior Aidan Ward

Practice has been every day after school from 4:30 to 6:30 since mid-April. 

Some of the most accomplished members of our theater program, such as Aidan Ward, Arielle Epstein and Zeynep Yazar, will be graduating after this show. Ward will continue to pursue acting after he graduates, as he plans to study theater studies at Kent State. Yazar plans to continue performing in shows when she returns to Turkey.

However, everyone is confident that the shows next year will be just as good.

“Not only do we have incredible juniors in our program, but a lot of shining students from the middle school,” Ward said. 

The shows on Friday and Saturday will begin at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday show will begin at 1 p.m.

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