Photo by George Lauby
The ‘Mersisters' and Flounder (kneeling) agree that ‘She's In Love.'
Photo by George Lauby
Nicole Schmidt as the Little Mermaid and Maximus Wohler as Sebastian the Crab take center stage as the cast celebrates life “Under the Sea.”
Photo by George Lauby
A drowning Prince Eric (Matt Pederson) is helped by the Little Mermaid.
The curtain went up Friday evening for a musical about love and fun under the sea, and a young mermaid who is willing to give up her life and identity to gain a human soul.Written by Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid tale was first published in 1837. It has been adapted many times, most notably by Disney Studios in an award-winning animated film in 1989.
A rebellious mermaid is fascinated with life on land, and on one of her visits, falls for a human prince.
Determined to be with her love, she forges a dangerous deal with a sea witch to become human for three days. But plans go awry for the star-crossed lovers, and those who care for them must make daunting sacrifices.
The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story, with lively, compelling scenes and songs designed to capture the heart.
Such songs as "Under the Sea", "Kiss the Girl" and "Part of Your World" became popular standards because of the Disney film.
Spirited playhouse veteran Anne Schmit is directing this seamless play at the Neville Center.
Despite the angst of the storyline, many scenes are cheerful, as aquatic characters folic, sing and dance in the sea, surf and sand. Schmit said it’s a story of inclusion, of accepting and enjoying others purely for the characters that they are.
Schmit’s efforts are bolstered by a talented cast and crew, excellent sets and props, plus some technical wonders, including characters that fly across the stage, or in this case, swim through the sea.
Schmit also notes that this was the first Disney animation with a true female heroine, followed by more of the same, including the 2013 animated musical fantasy Frozen.
The Little Mermaid is portrayed by Nicole Schmidt. Matt Pederson is the Prince. Among the other leading characters, Maximus Wohler is Sebastian the Crab, Justin Morgan is Grimsby and Skylar Stetham is Flounder.
There are 32 characters in the cast, plus crews are in the background, to run the lights, the backdrops and props, to handle the “flights” and the sound.
Sue McKain directs a full pit orchestra.
Flounder takes center stage for the joyous song, “She’s in Love,” joined by a chorus of mermaids, or in this case, mersisters. It is the first musical stage show for Stetham, 16. She sings in church and has appeared in church plays, and she is relishing the chance to perform with the community players.
“It’s incredible,” she said. “When I get older, this is what I want to do. It’s so fun to become someone else for a day.”
Schmit expressed gratitude to the cast, crew and their families. She said cast members pitched in to raise the money for the “flight” equipment.
The show opened Friday, Feb. 10. It played again on Saturday night and at 2 p.m. Sunday. For those who couldn’t make it, it runs again Feb. 17-19.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children and students. The box office will be open Monday-Friday from noon-5 p.m. at the Neville Center, 301 E. Fifth. Tickets will be available at the door before each performance, so long as seats are available.
The corporate sponsors are ProSeed, Farm Bureau Financial Services-Jay Engel and Nebraskaland National Bank.
The Nebraska Arts Council, a state agency, has supported this program through matching grants funded by the Nebraska Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.
Ariel - Nicole Schmidt
Pilot - Tim Scholar
Prince Eric - Matthew Pederson
Grimsby - Justin Morgan
Flounder - Skylar Stethem
Scuttle - Butch Lehmkuhler
Windward - Susan Williams
Leeward - Lou Cox-Fornander
King Triton - Mark Cullinan
Sebastian - Maximus Wohler
Aquata - Marissa Pascoe
Andrina - Jessica Shore
Arista - Kelley Flock
Atina -Keri Fisher
Adella- Lindsey Pederson
Allana - Melissa Mitchell
Flotsam - Tanner Hand
Jetsam - Tia San Miguel
Ursula - Angelina Gradel
Chef Louis - Tyler Cronin
Sailors - John Pettit, Sam Fornander, Malachi Murtagh, Matt Goad, et al.
Chefs - Teagan Lovelace, Emily Kammerer, Megan Huddle
Gulls - Seth Vapenik, Hannah Sucraw, Phillip Ryan, et al.
Maids - Florence Todd Gonzalez, Ashley Aloi, et al.