‘Little Mermaid Jr.’ makes waves on Evergreen stage

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By Sara Miller

In the last 25 years, Disney has brought to life some of the most magical stories of our time. “The Little Mermaid” is quite possibly the most magical of all Disney animations, packed with undersea orchestras and the iconic story of star-crossed loves, Ariel the mermaid and Eric the Prince. Add a live theatrical component to this show, and the magic is off the charts. Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen is excited to bring this show to the stages of Evergreen on Nov. 16 and 17.

The stage show received much acclaim during its 2008 Broadway run, but the script was only recently made available to schools around the country. Directors Gretchen Moritz, RMAE music teacher, and Rachel Smith, RMAE English teacher, jumped at the opportunity to be the first charter school in the Denver area to produce it.
“We chose this musical for the celebrated fairytale, compelling music and the large cast for our student body,” Moritz says.
The show includes participation from more than 50 middle-schoolers. RMAE takes great pride in its music/arts-focused curriculum, and the large cast and crew encompass almost 40 percent participation from the RMAE middle school.
The Little Mermaid tells the story of an unlikely love between Prince Eric (Michael Andur) the mermaid Ariel (Isabella Mohr). Ariel has spent her life under the sea and would do practically anything to be human, but her father, King Triton (Santino Aletheo), refuses to let her fraternize with land-dwelling men. Along the way, Ariel seeks advice from friends like Sebastian the lobster (Cheyanna Duran). Sebastian tries to persuade Ariel to stay in the ocean, and the stage is transformed into a kaleidoscope of singing and dancing in the famous number “Under the Sea.”
In spite of Sebastian’s arguments, Ariel has fallen in love with Prince Eric and wishes to transform into a human. When she seeks the counsel of the octopus Ursula (Allison Burt), she agrees to give up her voice if Ursula will change her to human form. The show’s main roles are played by eighth-graders at RMAE, including the aforementioned characters, and Chef Louie played by Samantha Hanson.
The undersea world is brought to life with stunning sets created by parent volunteers led by Laurie Morrill. Morrill is an RMAE parent whose daughter is a student director for the show. This year, RMAE welcomes back five Evergreen High School students who graduated from Rocky Mountain Academy and performed in earlier musicals there to help direct and manage the stage crew. Disguises Costumes in Lakewood designed and built original costumes for the production.
RMAE’s production of “The Little Mermaid Jr.” is a community affair that will help audiences fall in love with the magic of Disney all over again.

Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.