Little Mermaid hits a high note for William Monroe theater | Entertainment

By Will Baker / For the Greene County Record

On April 29 and 30, the Performing Arts Center was submerged under the sea for William Monroe High School’s performance of The Little Mermaid. This was the first performance from the school’s theater department in two years due to the pandemic.

The mood was set in the first song, “Overture,” a beautiful orchestral piece accompanied by bright, sea-colored lights moving across the stage. The ending of the piece was met with an excited applause and anticipatory cheering as the curtains began to open.

Alina Peffer, playing Ariel as a mermaid, dove right into the next song, “The World Above.” The solo was backed by hopeful instrumentals as she sang about her desire to live on the land amongst humans. The scene quickly changed to a ship crew singing “Fathoms Below,” a song about the mysterious depths of the sea. Prince Eric, played by senior Shane Handy, has a longing for the sea and feels out of place in the human world.

Deep under the sea, King Triton, played by Aaron Hale, holds a ceremony in which Ariel’s sisters perform “Daughters of Triton” and Triton sings “If Only,” a mournful lament about his wife who has passed away. Sebastian, played by senior Kyle LaTorre, ends the scene with a comedic remark that is met with roaring laughter from the crowd.

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In the next scene, Ursula, played by Ava Reickart, and her two eel servants plot their revenge in “Daddy’s Little Angel.” Their wickedly magnificent performance was met with rapturous cheering from the crowd.

Ariel’s amazement with the sea continues in her solo, “Part of Your World.” Directly afterwards, Prince Eric and the crew sing “Storm at Sea” as they try to keep their ship afloat through lightning and crushing waves. Ariel saves the prince and sings more before being chased away by Grimsby, one of Prince Eric’s crewmates. Although Eric was not awake, he remembers her angelic voice that was gifted to her by her mother.

In the next scene, Ariel’s recent intermingling with the outside world has garnered a lot of attention. Ariel’s mersisters sing about her in “She’s in Love,” and they are joined by her friend Flounder, played by Colton Shupe. On the land, Prince Eric sings a solo about Ariel in “Her Voice.”

The growing concern leads to the performance of “Under the Sea” by Sebastian and the other sea creatures. The auditorium lights up as people groove to the uplifting music that everyone knows and loves. LaTorre’s cheerful performance ends in the audience erupting in applause and cheering.

However, Sebastian’s performance was not convincing enough, as Ariel falls for Ursula’s evil plot in the next scene, where she trades her magical voice for a pair of legs to live amongst the humans. Ursula sings “Poor Unfortunate Souls” to finish off the first act of the show.

Scuttle, played by Jasmin Haggerty, began the second act on an uplifting note with “Positoovity,” in which he encourages Ariel, now played by Finn Waugh, to get up on her new feet and take a few steps.

Prince Eric finds her in the next scene and she sings “Beyond My Wildest Dreams,” a solo about living in the human world. However, she can only sing in her head because she traded away her voice to the evil witch Ursula. Chef Louis, played by Calais Shrum, has captured Sebastian and is preparing the food to be eaten in his solo, “Les Poissons.” The audience get a good laugh watching Sebastian escape the chefs in the outro to their performance.

In the next scene, Prince Eric teaches Ariel to dance in the romantic song, “One Step Closer.” Shortly after, Sebastian and the animals perform “Kiss the Girl,” an attempt to get Eric to kiss Ariel before it is too late.

In the next scene, Ariel, Sebastian, King Triton, and Prince Eric sing “If Only,” a quartet with beautiful harmonies about each of their individual wishes and desires.

Later, different princesses compete for Prince Eric’s heart in a big singing contest in “The Contest.” Prince Eric does not hear the voice that once sang to him when he was saved from the storm until Ursula shows up with the voice that once belonged to Ariel. Ariel and her father defeat Ursula and she regains her voice, bringing a happy ending to the performance.

Parents, students, and kids alike all had fun at the magical performance of The Little Mermaid. The lights, props, and brilliant acting brought the audience along through the show’s twists and turns as Ariel and Prince Eric, two people born in places they did not belong, fell in love.

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