Under the Scene

A behind the seaweed curtain look at the 2019 Spring Musical

Stephanie Scarano, Staff Writer

The cast of “The Little Mermaid” — Allen High School’s latest musical — been working since October. Four months later, the cast is ready to perform their heavily tech involved mainstage performance. The musical incorporates heavy use of projections, elevators, lights and a fly rig.


This isn’t the first mainstage production to incorporate extensive technical elements. “The Wizard of Oz(2013) and “Peter Pan: The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up(2015) both made use of the fly rig, lifting actors into the air to “fly” them around the stage. This year, instead of flying monkeys or lost boys in the air, it’s a little mermaid, played by Lexie Mitchell.

“Although the idea of flying was intimidating to me at first, I actually enjoy it a lot now that we’ve put it into practice,” Mitchell said. “I have complete confidence in the wonderful people working the tech for the flying.”

Mitchell, like everyone else in the cast, auditioned Oct. 1 and has been working throughout the year memorizing lines, dance steps and songs in preparation for the two-hour-long show.


“The musical’s rehearsals were fairly light for the first few months, with the occasional vocal rehearsal now and then,” Mitchell said. “As we’ve come nearer and nearer to our performances, the amount of time spent at each rehearsal has increased, which has really allowed our cast to grow as a family.”


The theatre and choir directors from both the high school and freshman center came together to get the show running. Outside choreographer Gaelyn Hefty was also brought in to teach the cast numerous dance numbers, with the help of student choreographers.


“[The students] learned a dance, a couple of counts to a short dance number, and performed for the choreographer,” Technical Director Renee Harris said. “It’s the first time we’ve done [auditions] that way.”


The audition process for this musical was done a little differently than in past years. More opportunities to practice and prepare in school were given and a different dance audition was set up.


“Students signed up for an audition slot and prepared part of a song,” Harris said. We did a workshop as well as a video [for the dance] that they could practice off of.”


One thing that makes this musical different from past shows is it’s costumes. Because a big portion of the cast plays fish or other sea creatures, new costumes had to be created from scratch.


Yeah, you can’t just pull an octopus costume from the costume closet [or] go shopping for the exact Ursula costume that we want,” Harris said. “Because our stage is so big, we also have to make things on a larger scale than we normally would.”


The costumes, lights and fly rig combined with the hard work put in by the massive cast, which pulled students from all over the arts programs. On Feb. 1 and 2, “The Little Mermaid” brought its audience under the sea.


“The kids have been working very hard on [the show], Harris said. [The musical] is a full fine arts program, it’s open for anyone who wants to audition, so it’s a good representation of our community.”