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New London students prepare for 'The Little Mermaid'

Cary Ashby • Mar 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM

NEW LONDON — Amy Kayser’s daughters have been coming home singing songs from “The Little Mermaid.”

The impromptu performances also includes some dancing.

Students in New London Local Schools will perform “The Little Mermaid” at 7 p.m. April 7 and 8. There is a dinner theater at 6 p.m. before the first performance. The catered dinner will include chicken cordon bleu, beef, salad, rolls, potatoes and green beans.

General-seating tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students. The dinner theater costs $25 and $18 for students. For the $25 checks, write a $7 check to “NL schools” and $18 to “NL music boosters.” For the students’ dinner theater tickets, write a $5 check to “NL schools” and $13 to “NL music boosters.”

“Preschool and younger are free for general seating,” director Samantha Quallich said. “We also have 46 elementary students involved (in the musical) and four middle-school students.” 

The cast includes students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Some of the main cast members are: Molly Given as Ariel; Alexandria Velez (Ursula), Jakob Logan (Prince Eric), Carson Coey (Sebastian), Caleigh Kropka (Flounder), Savannah Shaver (Scuttle) and Marshall Blaser as King Triton and Chef Louis.

Logan is the son of Geri Logan and Melanie Rozanski. During a break between one of his scenes as Prince Eric, the 17-year-old junior said he enjoys the thrill of being of being on stage and working with the other actors.

“I’ve been doing this since sixth grade,” Jakob Logan added.

When asked about Prince Eric, he said his character has no ill intent when he meets Ariel, a mermaid who has human legs after she made a deal with Ursula.

“He finds the girl. He doesn’t know anything about her, but helps her anyway. He’s a real gentleman,” Logan said.

Using a cast of all ages started last year with “The Wizard of Oz.”

Logan said channeling the young children’s energy seems to be a challenge during rehearsals.

“They bring a whole different brand of joy and enthusiasm. They’re a joy to work with,” he added. “It’s fun to see little kids involved in this.”

Kayser is impressed with what Quallich has done with rehearsals. The director has been rehearsing high schoolers on two days and the elementary students on the alternate days. The cast started their practices in October.

“The kids have put in a lot of work and you can tell. When they started rehearsing, I got goosebumps because it was so good,” Kayser said. 

Her daughter, Katie, a fourth-grader, plays one of the seashells during the number “Under the Sea.” 

“She’s also a flamingo in ‘Kiss the Girl,’” her mother said.

Kayser said she is pleased to see how the teachers haven’t given the students a significant amount of homework while the cast has been rehearsing.

“It’s worked out well,” she added.

Kayser’s younger daughter, Connie, 7, is in the second grade.

She has seen the animated version of “The Little Mermaid” three or four times. Some of her favorite songs are “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” which is sung in the New London version by Velez  as Ursula and “She’s in Love,” which is about Ariel, played by Given, a freshman.

“I like when the seagulls talk to each other,” Connie said.

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