On Stage: Hilton Head Island Elementary School for the Creative Arts presents 'Disney's Little Mermaid Jr.'

features@islandpacket.comApril 25, 2014 

From left, Macy Locker as Flounder, Haleigh Gartner as Ariel and Alex Modzelewski as Sebastian star in the Hilton Head Island Elementary School for the Creative Arts' production of "Disney's Little Mermaid Jr."

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Director: Harry Culpepper Jr.

The plot: This classic Disney title contains all of the songs from the Academy Award-winning animated feature film as well as three new songs from the Broadway show. "The Little Mermaid Jr." takes place in a magical kingdom beneath the sea, where a beautiful young mermaid named Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. But first, she'll have to defy her father, the king of the sea, escape the clutches of an evil sea witch and convince a prince that she's the girl with the perfect voice.

The story behind the show: "This production has been our biggest challenge yet for our after-school drama students who participate in the Creative Arts Players program," Culpepper said. "Students stay at school for an extra hour and a half twice a week to participate in the productions. The program has grown so much from our first year ... five years ago with only 12 actors to now more than 75. The students consistently tackle productions that are intended for levels above them. In the fall we produced a full stage version of 'Charlotte's Web,' not a youth version. It's exciting to see kids learning and performing at the same time." The Creative Arts Players was started to fill a need for students to have formal theater production and performance experiences outside of the regular school day curriculum.

Director's take: "This is our biggest production yet with the Creative Arts Players," Culpepper said. "It is very exciting because we are including the Singers and Calypso's Dancers to fill this production with tons of energy and excitement."

Behind the scenes: The school's stage will be transformed into the world of "The Little Mermaid" with scenery by Naoko Skala of the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. The lighting designer is John Dowbiggin and the costume designer is Deanna Kaup. "For the first time we will have lighting brought into our space that will be exciting and colorful and always moving and changing," Culpepper said. "We even spent a week sewing together a new large drop to span the width of the entire stage just to use for the lighting effects ... it was a learning experience for even the teacher."

Run dates: May 1-2

Location: Hilton Head Island Elementary School for the Creative Arts, 10 Wilborn Road, Hilton Head Island.

Ticket prices: $4 for students and $6 for adults $6

Contact for tickets: harry.culpepper@beaufort.k12.sc.us or 843-342-4135

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