Sun. May 19th, 2024

The Little Mermaid Coming to Oak Hill

By Emily Lamb Apr 16, 2024

The drama department at Oak Hill High School is in the process of putting on a production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”

The final production will consist of six performances over three weekends.

Aeron Kincaid, the musical’s director, explained how excited she was to be putting on a musical like this one.

“Musicals are always my favorite, because that’s what sold me into theater,” Kincaid said. “It’s pretty cool to watch my students put to life something that I grew up with, and to watch each cast do it a little bit different.”

This production has a double cast for five of their lead roles. Two different actors will take turns playing several characters. Hannah Middlesworth and Allie Van Winkle, two Oak Hill juniors, are sharing the role of Sebastian.

“Me and Hannah have been friends forever,” Van Winkle said, “And it’s literally a role that we get to play together, and it’s very fun, and it’s interactive. And we’re always doing something.”

Ariel is another character that was double cast for the production. Hannah Strange is playing one of the two Ariels, along with Kayah Harris.

“Me and Kayah are two roles,” Strange said, “And so probably the biggest challenge is like doing both at the same time. But it’s also really fun because it’s like, they’re very different.”

Some of the actors said the double casting allows them to see how two different people portray the same character.

“I see a lot of myself in my role, because I’m stubborn, just like Ariel,” Harris said. “I’ve loved seeing me and my double cast Hannah kind of grow in this musical, and all the new friends I’ve made.”

Many of the actors shared about how their favorite part of this production has been the growing of their relationships with their peers.

John Gilbert, who plays Grimsby, said, “My favorite part is probably making friends that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I guarantee you, if I didn’t get this role, I would not have like, at least five people that I have now.”

Kincaid said her favorite part of this production was seeing how much her students have grown throughout the process.

“Watching kids accomplish something that they didn’t think they were capable of,” Kincaid said. “I think that’s always what gets me, and watching them have a lightbulb moment on stage where they do something and create a response or walk away from it, knowing that they just gave their all and that their all was enough, is just a really cool thing to watch.”

Many of the students were challenged to learn new skills and grow in their acting abilities.

“It’s something kind of out of my comfort zone, and it’s a really goofy role,” Saralyn Pendleton, playing Scuttle, said. “The biggest challenge for me is probably tap dancing, singing, and doing a character voice all at once.”

Getting this musical to the place where it is now was a very long process.

“We’ve been working on this now for a year behind the scenes, and the students started working on it, technically, in January,” said Kincaid, “We’re a lot further along than some years past, and a lot of that is the awesome backstage adult team that I have that makes it flow so much smoother, because I cannot be everywhere at one time.”

Opening night for “The Little Mermaid” is on April 19th at 7:00 p.m.

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