Northridge High School will present Disney’s "The Little Mermaid" March 24-26 for what the directors are touting as the play's regional premiere.
Director Jody Hepp and co-director Jennifer Ulery said Northridge is the first area school to present the highly anticipated musical.
“It’s only been available for a couple of years,” Hepp said. “We knew it was the perfect show for us because it has 17 singing parts, and we have far more than that many talented vocalists in our cast.”
Hepp joined the Northridge district a few years ago and said she has been amazed by the school's culture.
“The work ethic here is phenomenal, and the pride the community takes in the musicals here is like nothing I’ve ever seen,” she said. “Northridge doesn’t do anything little with their musicals. They go big.”
Hepp said the students really want to put on a good show, and they work really hard to make it happen.
"The Little Mermaid" invites audiences to follow the story of a mermaid named Ariel, played by Mich-ele Ferry, and her quest for love with Prince Eric, played by Alex Healey, and her dream of being part of the human world. Ariel faces conflict with a diabolical sea witch, Ursula, played by Grace Christophersen.
Jacob Chestnut plays the role of a crab named Sebastian, who has been assigned to watch over Ariel by her father, King Triton, played by Gabe Miller, as she goes out in search of adventure. Ariel's sisters have expanded roles in the stage production and are played by Emma Holbrook, Alexis Lyon, Caroline Nicks, Maddie Parrill, Tori Powell and Marie Severns.
Sebastian enjoys help from her sea-based buddies, Flounder, played by Katie Debolt, and Scuttle, played by Tori Strong.
The role of Grimsby, Prince Eric’s footman, is played by Noah Miller.
Including these leads, the cast of "The Little Mermaid" features 46 vocalists and 13 stage-crew members.
The musical is based on the classic Disney film, with changes that include the addition of some songs.
“It’s the story you know with just enough of a twist to keep it interesting,” Hepp said.
Northridge audiences can look forward to seeing tapdancing seagulls and aquatic characters on Heely roller skates that create the effect of swimming.
Stage spectacles include a ship that takes audiences into underwater scenery on one side and Ariel’s grotto on the other, Ursula’s dark and creepy lair, Triton’s throne and a dock for the beach.
The production’s big choreography numbers are “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl.”
“The costumes, too, are just fun and special in this show,” Hepp said.
Many of the costumes were rented from Scott A. Jones Designer, and others were created by Carmen Debolt.
Some of those costumes were rolled out early, on March 4, for a character breakfast that drew 200 community members and raised more than $1,300 for the musical in two hours.
“It’s Disney’s classic, so of course that’s cool. But they’ve also spent more on this production, in terms of props and sets, so it’s even more amazing than what we’ve done before,” Healey said. “Our standards have always been high, but this show is phenomenal.”
He said the music is technically more complex than the cinema version, and the story has created some acting challenges for the non-human characters.
“Mich-ele has to act with her face and body language throughout the entire second act because Ariel can’t talk in that part, and her talent really makes that work well,” Healey said.
“Conveying an entire story with your face and arms, not talking, is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do with a production,” said Ferry, who dyed her hair red for the part.
“This show is a great twist on the familiar, and it adds something that makes it even better than the movie,” she said.
Show times are 7 p.m. Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 26.
Pre-sale tickets are available through the high school office at 740-967-6651 and also can be purchased at the door.
Cost is $8 for students and senior citizens and $10 for adults.