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The ABC Players will present Disney's "The Little Mermaid" March 11-20 at Stuart's Opera House. (Hannah Sickles)
The ABC Players will present Disney's "The Little Mermaid" March 11-20 at Stuart's Opera House. (Hannah Sickles)

ABC Players Make a Splash with “The Little Mermaid”


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This Friday, Disney’s musical version of The Little Mermaid will open for two weekends at Stuart’s Opera House in an ABC Players production sponsored by the Rocky Outdoor Gear Store.

The Disney version of the beloved Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale focuses on the sacrifices we are willing to make for true love. Ariel and her sisters are mermaid daughters of Triton, the sea king. Ariel, who is fascinated by the world above the waves, rescues handsome Prince Eric from drowning.

She falls in love with Eric, who, prior to his shipwreck, has heard Ariel singing and is smitten by her beautiful voice. But she is a creature of the sea, and he is a human prince, and they have never actually met. Risking all for love, Ariel trades her voice for a pair of legs, but even that may not be enough. The path to the final happy outcome is precarious all the way to the end, with many setbacks and challenges for the lovers to overcome.

Photo by Hannah Sickles
Photo by Hannah Sickles

This ambitious production is directed by Joe Asente, who starred as Shrek and Geppetto in the recent ABC Players productions of Shrek the Musical and My Son, Pinocchio. According to Asente, the costumers have created more than 90 different costumes for the cast (about 30 performers) to wear at different times during the show, which has been in rehearsal since December.

The role of Ariel is performed by Zoie Lanning. Her mermaid sisters are Logan Boyer, Crissy Barkhurst-McKinney, Annie Haseley, Marissa Dienstag, Mackenzie Perry, and Allie Harmon. Ariel’s timid best friend is Flounder, played by Elena Johnson.

Jenn Fritchley portrays another of Ariel’s friends, Scuttle, a brash seagull who claims to be an expert on all things human. Jeremy Hayes is King Triton. Devin Sudman plays the role of King Triton’s servant, Sebastian, a red Jamaican crab who is also a musical savant. Ursula, the evil Sea Witch, is played by Alexis Radcliff, aided by her two sly electric eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, played by Allyriane Huq and Sydney Lewis.

Photo by Hannah Sickles
Photo by Hannah Sickles

Back on dry land, Jackson Savage plays the sea-faring Prince Eric. His ship is piloted by Sandy Russell. Prince Eric’s guardian, Grimsby, is played by Joe Balding. Chef Louis is Brittan Posey. Carlotta, portrayed by Sylvia Abbott, is a housekeeper in the royal castle who becomes fond of Ariel and encourages her.

At various times, the previously listed actors, plus Eli Brooks, Caleb Bryant, Grace Chambers, Ethan Cooper, Alexis Fritchley, Mindy King, Brandi Kisor, Adeel Koshal, Tatum L’Heureux and Celeste Parsons, may also appear variously as gulls, other sea creatures, castle maids, chefs and crew members of Eric’s ship.

The Little Mermaid will be performed at Stuart’s Opera House on March 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 7 p.m., with matinees on March 13 and 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale during weekday office hours through the Opera House ticket office at 740-753-1924 and online at stuartsoperahouse.org. The prices are $12 for the general public, $8 for students. Tickets for seats not sold in advance will be available at the door at the same price.

Photo by Hannah Sickles
Photo by Hannah Sickles

For behind the scenes information on The Little Mermaid, listen to Hannah Sickles’ interview with Director Joe Asente and cast members Alexis Radcliffe and Zoie Lanning on Conversations from Studio B.