From the sparkles upon the mermaid tails to the rhythm of the blue waves, the cast of The Little Mermaid came alive.
Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen’s story and the Disney film, The Little Mermaid is likely to strike a nostalgic chord among many viewers. Maintaining the magic of the Broadway musical and creating much magic of their own, this version managed to emerge as unique and special to the Blake theatre.
Director and producer, Michael D’Anna, revealed the selective process surrounding the choice of the production. Aiming for diversity, Mr. D’Anna says, “we look at the talent that we have on hand, then we always try to choose a show that will give a lot of participation opportunities to every student.”
To prepare prospective actors for auditions, a series of workshops were held targeted toward newer Stage Company students. Although the quantity of new students was a challenge existing in previous productions, Mr. D’Anna found it especially prevalent this year. He says, “We have a lot of new students in the show. It’s very hard to memorize songs, lines, dance steps.”
Nevertheless, senior Beth Ann Zinkievich admits her favorite part stems from the diversity. She says, “it’s nice that there’s many different types of people so we can have lots of new friends [who] also have something in common with you.” Furthermore, musical directors Sandra and Kris Zinkievich and choreographer Matthew Bowerman helped to develop the casts’ talent by refining their music and dance techniques.
Despite the excellence of the final product, there were many barriers to creating a production that embodied another world. Zinkievich says, “[We had] to have that Disney magic in the production [and] pretend we’re under the water [and] cater our dance moves to that.”
Fundamental to the success of the production was the cohesion of the cast, crew, management, and benefactors. The crew was successfully able to meet their demands by transporting the audience with colorful costumes, remarkable acting, and musicality from the cast.
Beginning early September, rehearsals went until late, with the final days of practice lasting until 7pm. Both the cast and crew worked equally hard to perfect the production; the cast polishing each scene by continuing to practice their lines at home despite their long hours and the crew by laboring to create a realistic set, obtain costumes, and manage other technicalities.
“We’re like a second family. They’re like daughters and sons, nieces and nephews to me,” says Mr. D’Anna. Evident in both his words and the performance, the feeling of comradery led to the union of all production elements, delivering a show that left audience swishing their tails and clapping their fins.