Who doesn’t love a good fairy tale, complete with a beautiful princess and a handsome prince?
The quintessential fairy tale, The Little Mermaid, springs to life this week and is the first ever Alta production in the new Performing Arts Center.
The cast and crew of over 60 students have been working since November, in spite of the occasional covid setbacks, to bring this well known fairy tale to the stage. The musical is simply delightful; everything from the vocal performances down to the moving scenery is flawless. You won’t want to miss this show.
The vocal performances of the lead and minor participants demonstrate years of passion and music lessons by students who love what they are doing. The smooth transitions between scenes, the creative, detailed yet simple sets coupled with projections that move in tandem with the scenery all augment the student performances. Truly, all elements come together to produce a non stop whirl of action and music on stage.
Because of the new stage, side wings, and fly system, students can do so much more with scenery, lighting, and sound in this musical according to director Linze Struiksma.
“My favorite thing in the new auditorium is the fly system that allows us to drop and raise scenery,” Struiksma said. “We could never do that in the old auditorium. We can just do so much more now to enhance our overall production.”
Stage technicalites aside, the vocal performances are what bring the musical to life. Senior Chloe Barrus who plays Ariel, the dissatisfied mermaid princess who is completely fascinated with the human world above her underwater kingdom, glides in and out as if she’s underwater. She ventures to the human world above and falls in love with Prince Eric (Caleb Christensen) who is celebrating his birthday on a ship. Eventually, a hurricane arrives, wrecking the ship. Ariel rescues Eric and takes him to shore and sings to him. Just as he regains consciousness, Ariel leaves. Completely fascinated by Ariel’s voice, Eric vows to find the girl who rescued him. Below the ocean’s surface, Ariel vows to find a way to be with Eric.
So basically, the Little Mermaid is a boy meets girl love story complete with complications, conflicts, evil antagonists, and kind, loving, and supportive friends and family. It brings teenage struggles for independence to the stage and even highlights parental love and sacrifice. Amid Ariel’s serious pursuit of Prince Eric, there are a few comedic scenes. Dylan Thomas’s expert role as Chef Louis provides some comic relief as he pursues Sebastian (Matt Squire), a crab he wants to “include” in the meal.
The scenery, costumes, and lighting effects also add to the overall charm of the production. The scenery drops or slides in on cue, and the underwater characters all wear heely shoes so they can “swim” around and move quickly on stage. And, special lighting effects during the “Kiss the Girl” scene are truly enchanting.
The chemistry among all the cast on stage makes the musical memorable for the cast, stage techs, and audience. The students love and passion for what they are doing shines through. They are having the times of their lives, and during this covid year, that means more to them than anything. It has been a school year fraught with ups and downs, quarantines, school shutdowns, and more. The theater department’s fall show was cancelled, so the fact that these students can put their hearts and souls into this production means so much more.
“What I love most about this show is all the memories I’ve made with the whole cast and crew,” said Chloe Barrus who plays Ariel. “It has been a difficult senior year and this show is the perfect ending to it. I will remember the relationships and memories I’ve made for the rest of my life.”
Just watching the fun on stage and listening to familiar broadway music makes the audience forget they are wearing facemasks, and for the older people who remember the 1989 Disney movie, it is a walk down memory lane.
So, go see if Prince Eric “gets the girl.” You will be glad you did.