In 1989, Disney released its take on the classic tale “The Little Mermaid,” adapted from the Danish literary fairy tale written by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The long adored Disney classic has reached the masses and has been a fan favorite for generations. Many have seen this nostalgic film, but haven’t had the chance to watch the Broadway adaptation of the tale. Though it is similar, it doesn’t quite mirror the film adaptation. Though slightly contrasting in plot, the musical version of this show is nothing short of fantastic.
The plot follows the young Ariel, youngest daughter of the King of The Seven Seas, King Triton. He is also the son of the God of the Sea and Waters, as well as God of the Horse and Earthquakes. Triton is also the brother to the Sea Witch Ursula–the villain of the story. Ariel, a young and naive child, wants to swim up to the surface and explore the world above and around her. Much to her father’s dismay, she does so with the help of her faithful trustees, Sebastian and Flounder. Upon finding Ariel’s Grotto, the place where she keeps her collection of human memorabilia (what a hoarder!), her father also discovers that she has also saved a human man from drowning. The audience learns that humans, sailors specifically, were the cause of Her Majesty The Queen’s death. Triton then destroys Ariel’s Grotto, which in turn–thanks to coaxing from Ursula’s minions, Flotsam and Jetsam–causes Ariel to visit her estranged aunt. There she makes a deal with Ursula to trade away her voice for human legs in pursuit of her man, who just so happens to be the soon to be crown King, Prince of the neighboring country. But as things progress along the story line, things start to take a turn for the worse.
“I am really really excited for the show. I’m also really, really excited for the audience to see,” sophomore Emma Baldridge, who played Ariel said. “It’s a family and a fun show to put together. I can’t wait to see what our hard work has done on the stage.”
The Broadway adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” may not be an exact replica of the movie, but it is for sure a sight to see. Our drama club put on quite the show this month. The show took place on March 4, 5, 11 and 13.
“I am very excited. I’m kinda terrified but that’s okay. I think it’s a good family friendly show,” junior Carly Partlow, Flounder/Chef Louis said. Everyone will love it. Little kids love it. Grandparents who may have watched it when they were younger. It’s a show for everyone.”
A large number of people pitched in to make the production a success, even though time was limited.
“[The show] has been fun to put together. I’m excited but more nervous and kind of indifferent at the same time,” senior Jonathan Alonzo, King Triton said. “Even though we were kind of rushed to put this show together, I still think we made a lot of progress and it will come together pretty well despite the weeks we lost and the little time that we had.”
Even though the production encountered several weeks of delay due to school closures and the county’s decision to pause extracurricular activities for a few weeks, our Drama Club was still able to pull together the show. Along with the cast, the crew also played an incredibly important part in the show coming together.
“It was definitely a lot harder after COVID. I’m like the second most experienced person. I’m a junior and I did like one show in my freshman year, and there’s seniors who have done like three shows running lights,” Riley Sellers, Lights Coordinator said. “That’s about it, so we’re starting new with your knowledge and relearning how to do stuff. So it’s a massive learning curve. It’s also very bittersweet. The seniors that were here when I was starting were all really good, but I’ve been able to find my way around and just try my best overall.”
In addition to the actors, the set also needed attention and time.
“It was a lot of work. It was a real struggle to get everyone on board and get all the colors we needed,” junior Alex Cuadra, Set/Paint Crew member said. “We were a bit behind, so it was like a rush but we were able to get everything that we needed. Although we have to do a few touch ups now and then, it was hard, but we got it done. My favorite piece to paint and build was Ursula’s throne!”
Along with the crew, the pit crew also played a tremendous role in the production. The pit is a live orchestra that plays music along with the cast. They are essentially the breaking point to a lot of the songs in the musical, especially in a Disney production. Unlike a lot of other musicals, Disney musicals sync a lot of the lines in the show to specific cues in the music. The technical precision added to a series of push backs and rescheduling for rehearsals made the pit crew’s job more difficult. Despite the obstacles, the pit was able to truly bring the show together and their hard work could be heard throughout the show. They truly did a remarkable job making the show outstanding.
“I play the cello in the pit orchestra and we didn’t have a ton of time honestly, to go through everything. We barely had any practices. We didn’t have a lot of time to go through all of the pieces,” senior Mica Biamonte, cellist said. “So I would say that I was kind of nervous at first, but I do think it came together pretty well. I am happy that I did it and that everyone worked so hard and I’m really proud of all the work everyone put in.”
In the end, students and teachers reflected on the satisfaction of having brought the show to the community.
“I really enjoyed putting this together with the pit orchestra musicians,” the show’s Musical Director and music teache Charles Doherty said. “The music was much more challenging than we initially thought it would be, but they have done a good job of rising to the occasion.”
Of course nothing would have been possible without social studies teacher Steven Kachadorian, the director of the musical. As the longstanding musical director at our school, his efforts, along with those of the cast, crew, pit and everyone else who contributed to the musical were evident in the show’s success.
“The experience overall has been challenging because we had to rebuild after all the disruptions from COVID-19,” Kachadorian said. “But the students have done a great job of owning the experience and putting things together so it’s really come along, which is how we always want to make a show work.”