Northwood Theatre Arts took their audience “Under the Sea” from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3 with seven performances of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” a musical adaption of the classic animated film.
The spirited production told the tale of Princess Ariel (junior Trinity Pham), a young mermaid fascinated by the human world. Alongside her crustacean caretaker Sebastian (senior Akash Seeramreddi) and childhood companion Flounder (freshman Cameron Arcand), she pursues her dream of living on the surface against the wishes of her father King Triton (sophomore Chris Kassir). However, when Ariel falls in love with the dashing Prince Eric (junior Ian Gibson), she is tricked by the evil sea witch Ursula (senior Chloe Boulard) into trading her voice for human legs. Along the way, she learns the importance of appreciating familial love, while staying true to herself.
Preparations for the musical began in November and culminated in three work-intensive “tech weeks” right before show week.
“I’m really proud of how far we came after four months of rehearsal,” Pham said. “All of our hard work really showed on stage and it was just such an amazing feel to get to work with people who genuinely love the same things you do.”
Compared to other productions on the Northwood stage, recreating the children’s classic posed a special challenge to the cast and crew of the musical.
“The fact that ‘The Little Mermaid’ is so well-known meant that we couldn’t really take many creative liberties,” Boulard said. “Everyone knows Ariel’s red hair and the bow she wears during ‘Kiss the Girl.’ It was a struggle to create recreate that in the characters, set design and lighting, but it was also kind of nice to have something to go off of.”
The musical was a collaboration between all of Northwood’s performing arts programs and jointly directed by teachers Benjamin Case, Danyelle Dunavold, Keiko Halop, Zach Halop and Judy Scialpi. A total of 119 students worked on the production as members of the cast, crew and live pit orchestra.
“Once we started practicing with the cast, the music began to feel like a conversation between everyone involved, the cast, crew and pit,” pit student leader senior Genie Yae said. “We’re the pit and we play the music, but at the same time, the entire musical cast works together to create an even bigger piece of music.”
Audiences can look forward to Northwood Theatre Art’s spring production of “Journey to the West,” coming to the Northwood theater in April.