BBCHS Presents The Little Mermaid

BBCHS’ theater department proudly presents Disney’s The Little Mermaid as their 2022-2023 season’s Fall Musical, and shows will run November 10-13. This musical retells the classic 1989 animated movie which follows the story of a naïve young woman named Ariel, who desires nothing more than to explore the world above the waves and seek out a romantic interest, Prince Eric, who she saves from drowning in an accident involving his ship, and goes so far as to trade her voice for legs with the evil sea witch, Ursula, who concocts and plan to steal the throne from Ariel’s father, King Triton.

The musical features well-known iconic songs like “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea,” “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” and “Kiss the Girl” that were beloved in the original animated film, as well as other catchy tunes like “She’s in Love.” But, it’s a lot of work to make a show ready for the public. The production features approximately 75 cast members, including leads, featured ensemble, lead dancers, high school ensemble, and 25 youth cast members coming from BBCHS’ feeder schools. In addition to cast members, there are various choreographers, set designers, makeup artists, and directors working behind the scenes to make this fantasy tale come to life.  

Senior Larrigan Saindon, who plays Ariel in the musical, noted the difficulties she has faced when portraying her: “Ariel’s character can be difficult to figure out. She’s naïve but also really independent, and it’s a lot of emotions because almost the entire Act Two she doesn’t have any lines.” She continued describing how to combat stage fright and performance anxiety, reminiscing that it “helps me to really know my part inside and out, so if I get a moment of anxiety and forget, it’s muscle memory at that point.”

Saindon has been involved in the theater program throughout high school and has played notable roles such as Nun Sofia in The Sound of Music, Gertie in Oklahoma!, and Vivienne in Legally Blonde. Saindon also pointed out the time it can take to put together and learn a full number vocally, which can take a few hours with memorization being the biggest difficulty, and even longer to learn numbers choreographically.

Senior Rayanne Shaul, a featured cast member and “mersister” who has been part of the theater program since her sophomore year, said that it can take almost a month to nail bigger numbers like “She’s in Love. “The process of teaching and learning the dance really depends on the song. For ‘Under the Sea,’ the kids and the ‘lower’ high school ensemble come out first for the first chorus, then ‘high’ high school comes out for the second verse, and then it just gets complicated from there. The lead dancers get the dance break, and everyone comes out for the finale.”

As with every production, the students on stage aren’t the only ones putting in the work. Traditionally, BBCHS’ fall musicals have included a live musical pit, with student musicians providing the backing track for the show. Pit musicians have two weekly rehearsals to ensure readiness for performances. The pit is made up of about 20 students split between wind and string players and is under the direction of Mrs. Brittany Williams. One musician commented on their experience in the pit, saying, “I feel very thankful for the opportunity to perform for such a talented set of actors and singers and dancers. It’s a lot of long nights at rehearsals, but it is definitely worth it in the end to see it all come together.”

The pit adjusts to the singers’ needs and does so excellently. Shaul spoke about the pit’s flexibility: “A live pit usually fits in the puzzle of our show very easily. The safeties usually have to be tweaked for lines or talking during a song, but it goes pretty smoothly.”

Whether it is on stage as a dancer or singer, in the pit as a musician, or backstage as a director or artist, every person involved in the production of The Little Mermaid has worked incredibly hard to ensure the show is up to meet BBTEP’s stellar reputation.