Medway High School Musical Presents Disney’s The Little Mermaid

J.D. O’Gara
Issue Date: 
March, 2018
Article Body: 

The Medway High School Musical will present performances of Disney’s The Little Mermaid on Friday¨ March 9 at 7:30 pm and Saturday¨ March 10 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The performances will be held at Medway High School in the Dr. Arthur L. Bettencourt Auditorium located at 88 Summer Street in Medway.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved story and the classic animated film. Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above, bargaining with the evil sea witch, Ursula, 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.
This wonderful fairy tale for the ages stars Annelise Kealey as Ariel, Brian Gerard as Prince Eric, Charlotte Kealey as the evil sea witch, Ursula and Dan Rice as Ariel’s father, King Triton. Sebastian is played by Daphne Freeman with John Boujnane as Scuttle and Carissa Barry Moilanen as Flounder. Disney’s The Little Mermaid is presented by special arrangement with Music Theatre International.
About 40-50 students are involved in this year’s musical, which is directed by Kendra Nutting with musical direction by Amanda Webster, according to parent Jennifer Kealey. The under-the-sea production took a bit of creative special effects, as stage is not equipped with a system for “flying,” says Kealey. Students rehearse the production about three times a week from one to three hours, until the final couple of weeks, when they’re rehearsing every day.
The lead role, “Ariel,” is played by Annelise Kealey, a senior this year, who’s been doing Medway High School musicals since she was a freshman.
“It’s a lot of work, a lot of long rehearsals,” she says, “and it’s a lot different, because it’s my first big role, but it’s been so much fun.” Kealey, who hopes to study business, may pursue theatre as an extracurricular activity in college, but she won’t soon forget the MHS theatre experience.
“The most fun is, definitely, the whole musical community. It’s a real family. You get to be really close with all the people no matter what part you have. Everyone looks forward to musical season and getting to see everyone.”
“King Triton,” Dan Rice, says this is his largest role. A musician who plays percussion, guitar, piano and bass, he says his voice is his primary instrument, and it’s big. “King Triton is a very powerful person who gets to yell loud. I like to yell, and I’ve always liked being able to yell at people,” he jokes.
You probably wouldn’t recognize the other character who yells…”Ursula,” in real life. Freshman Charlotte Kealey does not seem nearly as intimidating as her character, but she says it’s fun playing “antagonist and evil roles.” Her low voice fits with her character, and she’s strong enough to carry the 30-pound costume, made by her Mom.
Every cast member interviewed commented on the camaraderie of the group.
“Eric,” played by senior Brian Gerard, who loves to sing but says he might not be the biggest theatre person, but “I mainly do it because I made a lot of great friends through this program.”
“It’s about as big of a family as you can get, it brings you closer to the other people,” adds John Boujnane, a sophomore who will be playing “Scuttle the Seagull” and says he cant think of a better place to be.
Carissa Barry Moilanen, a junior, who’s played in two other musicals, says The Little Mermaid was just the musical she was hoping for. She’s enjoyed singing with the “mersisters,” and the challenge of learning to glide along stage in heelies, to simulate swimming.
In fact, all of the mermaids, including Ariel and her sisters and Ursula’s eels, had to practice moving around in the special sneakers.
“It’s mildly difficult to learn,” says freshman Sophia Flotta, who plays “Adella.” She’s enjoying branching out and meeting upperclassmen as a part of the production.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Calnan, “Atina,” agrees. “As a freshman, coming in and being in it was so much fun, you just learn to make so many friends. Yes, I do it because I enjoy singing and music and stuff, but I also do it because I enjoy the sisterhood.”
Senior Gina Coletti, “Arista,” is enjoying doing her first show since freshman year so much, she says she regrets not doing it the past couple of years. “I have so many friends, and it’s just so fun,” she says.
As a senior, however, Liana Freeman, who plays “Aquata,” says she’s feeling a touch of bittersweet about her last MHS musical production. She hopes to continue acting as a hobby, and someday, if her plans to become a high school English teacher come to fruition, sees herself directing theatre productions.
Her fellow senior Alyssa Palladino, “Allana,” hopes to study music as a major next year. This production, she agrees, is a little bittersweet as a senior but “has been so fun. I get to be with my mersisters – you get to hang out with your friends.”
Don’t miss this hauntingly beautiful love story with music by eight-time Academy Award winner¨ Alan Menken¨ lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater and a compelling book by Doug Wright. It will capture your heart with its irresistible songs¨ including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.”
Tickets are $t15 and are available online at www.brownpapertickets.comØeventØ3326459 .
Tickets will also be on sale at the door until sold out - Cash and Check ONLY. All seating is reserved. For more information and updates¨ visit us on Facebook at Medway High School presents Disney’s The Little Mermaid.