The Pickerington Community Theatre will begin a six-show production of Disney's "The Little Mermaid" with an evening performance Friday, July 13.

In American folklore, Friday the 13th has been a date associated with the creepy, if not all-out sinister.

But this year, at least in Pickerington, Friday, July 13, is going to be an opportunity for family-oriented fun and entertainment provides by the theater company.

The show is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. in the Heritage Elementary School theater, 100 N. East St.

Additional performances are planned for 8 p.m. Saturday, July 14; July 20 and 21.

Matinee shows are scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, July 15, and July 22.

"This is the first time PCT has done this show," said Chris Gallaugher, the theater company's president. "It is one that we have had our eye on for a while.

"It is challenging, but fun, putting on this type of big-stage production."

"The Little Mermaid" is set in a magical kingdom beneath the sea, where a young mermaid, Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above.

It's score includes such songs as "Under The Sea," "Part of Your World," "Kiss The Girl" and "Poor Unfortunate Souls."

Gallaugher acknowledged the nonprofit theater company took a circuitous route in selecting the show.

He said the troupe originally set sights on Monty Python's "Spamalot."

However, three weeks before auditions for that show, theater officials were contacted by "Spamalot" writer and creator, Eric Idle.

He requested they hold off in deference to his plans for a 15-year anniversary tour, which includes a stop in Columbus in November.

"Tough to say no when Eric Idle asks for a favor," Gallaugher said. "As a result, we needed to quickly shift to a new show.

"Since we wanted to make a big splash -- pun intended -- the PCT board decided to do one of the large-cast shows from our pre-selected list -- Disney's 'The Little Mermaid.' "

Despite pressures with the quick turnaround, Gallaugher said, there were more than 100 people who auditioned.

From that group, 57 cast members, 17 orchestra musicians and several costume, makeup and crew workers have been selected.

"While it is mostly an adult cast, we have a few kids and teens in the show," Gallaugher said.

"This is a family-friendly production and is the full Broadway version of the Disney movie."

The shows will be co-directed by Gallaugher and Adam Schroeder, with music direction from Sue Laney. The choreographer is Jenny Small, and Andrew Wiebel will oversee set design and construction.

The cast has rehearsed for 10 weeks.

The work for some of the actors included training using Heelys, which are shoes that have drop-down skate wheels in the heels so they can "skate" around the stage to simulate swimming.

"We also have a large back-screen for projecting special effects and colorful backdrops," Gallaugher said.

"It is a large-scale production that includes a 17-piece orchestra and a lot of wonderful dancing.

"The costumes alone are worth the price of admission."

All seats for each performance are reserved, and tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for senior citizens 55 and older and children 12 and younger.

Tickets can be purchased at pctshows.com or reserved by calling the box office at 614-508-0036.

Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more and can be obtained by calling the box office.

All tickets are held at will call and are available one hour before the performance.

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate