By SUE SUCHYTA
Southgate Community Players launches the under and above sea adventures of Ariel by announcing the adult cast of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” which runs 7 p.m. Nov. 11, 12 and 18, and 3 p.m. Nov. 19 at Davidson Middle School, 15800 Trenton Road in Southgate.
Tickets are $18, with a $3 discount for students and seniors. To order, call 734-282-4727 or go to scponstage.com.
With music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater and Howard Ashman, and book by Doug Wright, the show was nominated for a Tony Award in 2008 for Best Original Score (losing to “In the Heights”).
Based on the classic tale by Hans Christian Anderson as well as the 1989 Disney animated film, the musical follows mermaid Ariel who dreams of the world beyond the sea who sacrifices her voice in an ill-advised bargain with the evil Ursula for a chance to be human.
Phil Rauch will direct and choreograph, with Jerry Wesselman as vocal director, Lara Keathley as assistant director and Holly Knick as producer.
The cast include Taylor Yaeger as Ariel, Benjamin Apostle as Prince Eric, Dan Perttula as King Triton, Cory Shorter as Sebastian and Kiersi Dulz as Flounder.
Matt Mayes plays Scuttle, with Lori Hawkins as Ursula, Brad Hardecki as Flotsam and Logan Laflin as Jetsam.
Josh Beurer plays Grimsby, with Craig Wilson as the pilot, Rob Douglas as Chef Louis and Courtney Perttula as Windward.
Alexis Bartrum, Brianna Bielak, Tamara Marla, Kellie Runkle and Shelly Salazar play the Mersisters.
The ensemble includes Sophia Abbot, Jennifer Bezeau, Tina Brow, Emilee Dow, Julianne Annika Elipse, Destiny Frank, T. C. Glotfelty, Adriana James, Amanda Johnson, Joseph Kemp, Rahne Olson, Patrick Reed, Isabella Selburg, Nicole Spitz, Kiera Woodman and Rich Woodman.
Yaeger said her love for the role of Ariel, her inner child and her lifelong adoration for Disney stories was her motivation for auditioning for the show.
“It has these wonderful characters that are a whole ocean of fun,” she said, “with songs that will warm your heart, and a touching story that has you rooting for this mermaid who risks everything for love.”
Apostle said the Disney movie also is one of his favorites.
“’The Little Mermaid’ (is) an excellent musical with a moving soundtrack that I really wanted to be part of,” Apostle said.
Mayes also grew up as a “Little Mermaid” movie fan, and when the story moved to the stage he became determined to one day play the role of Scuttle.
“Character roles are my specialty, and I have the most fun with them as an actor,” Mayes said. “Scuttle definitely has his own view on life. It’s very unique, and I’m just super excited to tap into that mindset and portray this crazy character.”
Hawkins likes the fact that Ursula is unlike any character she has ever played before.
“The musical delves into her background a bit more than the movie does, so you get a chance to learn about her evil motivations,” Hawkins said. “It’s so much fun to play such a great character role and perfect an evil laugh, much to the chagrin of my children!”
Laflin sees playing Jetsam as an opportunity to broaden his acting horizons.
“Playing Jetsam will allow me to explore more with characterization in movement, expression and different speaking patterns,” Laflin said. “I’m really looking forward to learning all the classic songs as well as the new ones, and learning how not to fall in the Heelys.”
Marla, who grew up loving the movie as a little girl, said she is excited to be playing the mersister Aquata.
“She’s a sassy and witty diva,” Marla said, “and what girl doesn’t want to be a mermaid?”