By Rick Palsgrove
The Cruiser Theatre Company at Groveport Madison High School wants to make a splash with their spring musical.
The acting troupe will perform Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” on April 12, 13, and 14 at 7 p.m. and April 15 at 2 p.m. in the Groveport Madison High School auditorium, 4475 S. Hamilton Road. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for students/seniors and kids under age 5 get in for free.
A special feature of the event, according to Corey Ragan, Groveport Madison High School theatre teacher/director, will be “princess party’ for kids before the Saturday, April 14 show. Tickets for kids to attend the princess party will be $10 to attend both the party and the show.
When asked why the Cruiser Theatre Company chose to do “The Little Mermaid,” Ragan said, “Who doesn’t love Disney! From my first year at the high school, I knew that this musical was going to have to be something big enough to go down in history as the last musical produced in this building. In many ways, I’ve been searching for this year’s musical from day one. When I first listened to ‘Mermaid,’ I fell in love with it immediately. The additions that they make to the movie are brilliant. These songs are some of the most fun written for modern musical theatre. The characters are all a blast to play, but are complex enough to still present a challenge for the actors.”
Ragan said staging a well known title is “an enormous challenge.”
“You have to pay homage to incredible source material, but still make your character new and original,” said Ragan. “Our students are exceeding at taking each of these roles, making them relevant to 2018, but still respecting the incredible Disney movie. Additionally, this is the most dance heavy show that we have done since I’ve been here. The students are rising to the challenge and doing incredible work!”
Ragan said “The Little Mermaid” also presents challenges for the stage crew.
“‘The Little Mermaid’ is by far the biggest show that we have produced at GMHS,” said Ragan. “We travel to 12 different locations over the course of the show. Designing the set in a way that we could pay respect to each location, but still have a functional set for our space has been a crucial part of the process for this production. But, the tech crew has risen to the challenge and created an incredible set.”
The lead actors and their roles in the production are senior Michaela Cooper, who is playing “Ariel,” and sophomore Derek Smith, who is playing “Prince Eric.”
“I’ve never played a lead female role like this before,” said Cooper. “‘Ariel’ leads with her heart, not her head, and I’m the opposite of that. ‘Ariel’s’ personality is quirky and inquisitive, which are traits that are interesting to play with.”
Smith, who has performed in nine shows since the beginning of his freshman year, said playing “Prince Eric” is different from the past roles he has played.
“I’m good at playing the funny best friend roles,” said Smith. “This role is more serious and includes a love interest.”
Cooper said performing a musical, such as “The Little Mermaid,” is more challenging and fun than a standard play.
“With a non-musical, things are portrayed more realistically,” said Cooper, who said she enjoys singing and plans to major in music in college. “With a musical, there has to be a suspension of belief. The music can take you on an implausible journey.”
Smith said musicals require a broader range of acting skills.
“There is dancing and singing, which brings a whole other element to the story,” said Smith.
Smith said he was drawn to acting because, “I like being on a stage and making other people happy by performing.”
Cooper said she was attracted to live theatre when she was younger because her family took her to see performances of shows such as “Annie,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and “The Sound of Music.”
“I saw many shows when I was a kid,” said Cooper. “It looked like so much fun and it made me want to perform, too.”