‘The Little Mermaid’ is set for run in July

‘The Little Mermaid’ is set for run in July
Scott Daniels

Joe Compton is Chef Louis in the Little Theatre’s production of “The Little Mermaid.”


Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” is set for a short run in July, a production of The Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County, though the performances will be staged at the new Dover High School auditorium. “The Little Mermaid” will run July 8-10 at 7 p.m. and July 10 and 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available now.

Show director Lisa Sommers said the musical is the culmination of a long desire to bring “The Little Mermaid” to the stage. “I saw it live several years ago and fell in love with it. I knew I had to do it sometime,” she said.

Little Theatre seasons are chosen by a play reading committee from among submissions by directors, and Sommers said she submitted the show for consideration a few times before seeing it chosen. Auditions were held in early 2020. With the show cast, rehearsals began, but then the COVID-19 pandemic brought the planned mermaid story to a halt.

About half of the original cast had to drop out of the show, and new auditions were held to recast those roles. This year with rehearsals resuming, the cast is preparing the show on the Little Theatre stage before moving to the Dover High School auditorium for final rehearsals and set construction.

“Much of the set is already built,” Sommers said. “It will all be moved by trailer to the larger high school stage, where we can start seriously working with the larger space and set pieces spaced properly.”

Though a somewhat technically difficult show to pull off, Sommers said rehearsals were going well. She said she is very pleased with the cast and crew and felt the show would be excellent. “If you like the Disney animated version,” she said, “you should like the stage version. The stories are very close, and many of the big musical numbers you recognize are there.”

“The Little Mermaid” is the story of Ariel, a mermaid with a beautiful singing voice who dreams of life out of the sea. Trading her voice for an above-water experience, she finds love in her new human form against the wishes of her father, King Triton, who views all surface dwellers as barbarous fish eaters.

“We are very excited about the greater space and freedom to do new things at Dover High School,” Sommers said. “The new auditorium has plenty of overhead fly space above the stage and better lighting opportunities.”

The possibility of using the DHS stage didn’t become apparent until the spring of this year, and Sommers said she found herself having to go back to the beginning in designing the production, changing things to allow for the larger space.

Sommers said audiences will be able to participate in trivia games during the production. “We have hidden Mickey Mouse in the set pieces for people to find. Some are quite obvious and others much harder to spot,” she said.

The cast includes Kate Sweitzer as Ariel, Angelina Seemann as the villain Ursula, Cory Spinell as Prince Eric, Chester Boffo as the crab Sebastian, Jake Armstrong as King Triton, Dylan Dunn as Scuttle and Joe Compton as Chef Louis.

“The Little Mermaid” first debuted on Broadway in 2008 and closed after 685 performances. It is based on the 1989 Disney animated film of the same name, which is in turn based on a tale by Hans Christian Anderson.

Tickets for “The Little Mermaid” are $15 for adults and $10 for children and are available at www.thelittletheatreonline.org.

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