Like "The Wizard of Oz," the main character of Disney's "The Little Mermaid" is a young girl who is bored with life and dreams of going away to some exciting destination. Dorothy and Ariel get what they wished for but find it does not meet their expectations. Both stories are filled with adventure and drama, complete with a villainous witch, but "Little Mermaid" also is a love story.
Calvert High School is to present "The Little Mermaid" at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the school gym. Many people are familiar with the animated motion picture based on a fairy tale. The stage version features the same basic story and the music from the film, with 10 new songs by Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater.
Director Krysten Webb was able to borrow original costumes from a Toledo school that had presented the show previously. Some simple backdrops and the imagination of the audience are enough to make it believable.
PHOTO BY MARYANN KROMER
Ariel (Corinne Harris) has a close encounter with Prince Eric (Jack Burtis) when she saves him from drowning.
Elementary school children fill in as the colorful, singing sea creatures. Favorite songs from the film are "Under the Sea," "Kiss the Girl," "Part of Your World," "Poor Souls," "Les Poissons," "Fathoms Below" and "Daughters of Triton."
The curtain opens with a sailing ship carrying the pilot (Will Wagner), Prince Eric (Jack Burtis), Grimsby (Connor Stocker) and a small crew of sailors who are to reappear later in the story. Below the ocean's surface, Cayden Kapelka as King Triton is presiding over a celebration featuring his daughters.
The mersisters are portrayed by Margaret Bowers, Marrisa Therriaut, Allie Beckley, Samantha Beckley, Amanda Martorana and Regina Hoepf. Later, the girls' ensemble performs the harmonious "She's In Love," one of the new tunes.
Triton is disturbed when his daughter, Ariel, does not make her expected appearance at the concert. Sebastian the crab also is worried and suggests more supervision for Ariel. The king agrees and assigns Sebastian (Kory Wise) to that duty.
In the lead role is Corinne Harris as Ariel. She was a natural choice for the role with her long, red hair and clear voice. Besides, Harris also is a star swimmer for Calvert.
As the story goes, Ariel has been leaving her underwater home and going to the surface to observe what goes on above her. She is accompanied by Ceci Burtis as Flounder and Amanda Traxler as Scuttle, the gull. Kristan Bowers, Rachel Groves and Sarah Goshe are fellow gulls.
While Ariel expresses her yearning to learn more about the land-bound creatures, the sinister Floatsam and Jetsam (Meridith Lucius and Madison Daniel) overhear her comments. They report the news to the sea witch, Ursula (Hailey Kapelka).
Ursula delivers two more new songs, "I Want the Good Times Back," and "Daddy's Little Angel." Maybe those make up for her unwieldy costume.
Later, Ariel spots the ship and lingers nearby in curiosity. Dancers swirl about the stage as a squall stirs up the sea and tosses Prince Eric into the waves. After pulling him to shore, Ariel falls in love with him.
Through a blur of sub-consciousness, he glimpses her face, unsure whether she is real or a hallucination.
That encounter solidifies Ariel's determination to find a way to be with the man she loves. Singing "Poor Unfortunate Soul," Ursula and her cronies offer to help Ariel with a magic spell. But there is a price; she must surrender her voice in exchange for a human body.
With that accomplished, Ariel is forced to scramble from the deep to the surface for air, leaving her unconscious but sans fins.
If there is a lesson to be gained, perhaps it is dreams must not go too far beyond the realm of possibility.
The second act follows Ariel as a human who cannot speak. She does hook up with the prince, but he is engaged to Carlotta, played by Allie Beckley. Other characters who appear in Act II include Isaac Best as Chef Louis and Gabbi Hanna, Emma Melvin and Brooke Dixon as the princesses.
In addition to those named above, the chorus includes Rebecca Hoepf, Anthony Traxler, Cassie Reinhart, Jenna Bonnell, Leigh Brinkman, Isaac Cortez, Travis Everhart, Miranda Fanning, Jayden Fox, Jylan Godfrey, Owen Hizer, Alana Kennedy, Julianna Poland, Erin Wagner, Samantha Wagner, Lydia Wellman, Samantha Wellman and Hanna Welter.
Making up the crew are Remington Marshall, Brityce Hizer, Hayden Hizer, Brock Boucher, Owen Ziegler, Nick Maury, Miranda Shorts, Sara Welter, Maria Goshe and Erin Groves.
The main drawback to the show is the recorded soundtrack to accompany the singers. Although it eliminates the task of finding musicians, live music adds a special touch. Beyond that, "The Little Mermaid" is a charming production for all.
Tickets are $10 at the door or by calling (419) 447-3844.