Hot on the heels of Statewide recognition and selection to perform at the International Thespian Festival in June, PHS Theatre is back on stage rehearsing for, designing, and building an iconic tale that dates back 181 years.
The department will produce “The Little Mermaid,” the musical, at Memorial Auditorium, 503 N. Pine, Feb. 14-17. This one is going to be over-the-top, promises Director Greg Shaw. Among the many highlights: 131 costumes and 90 wigs, actors wearing roller skates, and state-of-the-art projections.
Long before it was a Disney favorite and then a stage play, it was penned by Hans Christian Anderson.
“It’s a family-friendly, iconic story that actually dates back to 1837,” said Director Greg Shaw. “It’s still extremely relatable to audiences today.”
The plot hinges on Ariel, King Triton's youngest daughter, who wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above. She bargains with the evil sea witch, Ursula, her aunt, to trade her tail for legs. But the bargain is not what it seems, and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends, Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull and Sebastian the crab, to restore order under the sea.
“The costumes are going to be elaborate, over the top – maybe more so than we’ve ever done before,” Shaw said. “The sets will be straight out of a Disney cartoon. We’re using projections as well as extremely detailed and elaborate 3D set pieces. And the dance numbers, as always, will be fun and creative and in the spirit of great Disney musicals.”
It’s the first time for the production to be staged in Pittsburg.
The cast numbers 33, with a 20-member crew and a 20-piece pit orchestra that will provide the music. Another 15 students in stage craft classes are building the set. Staff at Memorial Auditorium are collaborating with students on lighting and sound design.
"It's the perfect example of collaboration in education," Shaw said.
The production will be adjudicated, as were last year’s “Seussical” and 2016’s “Shrek,” for Music Theatre Wichita’s Jester Awards later this spring.
The run time is two hours with an intermission.
Tickets are on sale through Memorial Auditorium and may be purchased online at www.memorialauditorium.org or by calling the box office during business hours at 620-231-7827.
Tickets are $10 for reserved seats on the main floor, or $5 and $8 for balcony seats.
Little Mermaid-themed souvenirs will be sold in the lobby before and after the show and during intermission, and young audience members will have an opportunity to get their photograph taken on stage with Ariel and Prince Eric after the show.