The stage of Malaspina University-College is being transferred into a magical underwater kingdoms this weekend as the Kirkwood Academy of Performing Arts presents The Little Mermaid.
The academy has converted the classic Disney animated musical to musical-theatre presented by more than 75 performers ranging from age six to adult, said Kirkwood co-owner Carole Martyn.
The show incorporates singing, dancing and acting and is "our biggest musical-theatre presentation of the year," she said.
Kirkwood's biggest production is its annual Christmas ballet The Nutcracker where more than 100 young dancers perform, she said.
The Little Mermaid revolves around Ariel, a headstrong young mermaid who wants to see what it's like to "spend a day, warm on the sand."
Twelve-year-old Taylor Manns plays Ariel for Kirkwood's three shows: today at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
"She is Ariel," said Martyn.
"She has a beautiful voice and the most gorgeous head of red hair.
"It was our director Donna Wilkins's idea to present The Little Mermaid," said Martyn.
"When she saw Taylor, she knew she wanted to do it."
Other key characters are the crab Sebastien (Samantha Madge), seagull Scuttle (Courtney Smith), fish Flounder (Kiana Smith), the evil Ursula (Sydney van Ryssel and Shelby Smith).
Ariel is one of the characters that young children love -- especially girls.
"It's Ariel and Tinkerbell that they are especially fond of," said Martyn.
The academy has been preparing for opening day for months, she said.
"We've been working on this since last September."
There's a lot more that needs to be done than just preparing the performers.
For example, Martyn's spouse Lindsay has been trying to build a set that will illustrate the nautical setting of the production.
"It's difficult at Malaspina but with the help of some fans we think we will have movement that will represent waves," said Martyn.
The costumes could not have been completed without the help of some dedicated Kirkwood parents, she said.
Tickets for The Little Mermaid cost $12 and can be purchased at Beban Park, the academy and at Malaspina Theatre prior to the performances.
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