The Sampson Community Theatre is promising a super splash next weekend with the wave of three casts in its production of “The Little Mermaid, Jr.” in a junior version of the Disney classic.
“This is the first time we’ve done ‘The Little Mermaid’,” said director Angela Martin.
“The age of the cast is 4 to 15-years-old,” she said. The kid friendly production has been cast with students and youngsters from 34 area schools and five different counties.
“There are 110 members, with three separate casts,” the director said, adding that every cast performs on a different weekend.
“This is based off of Disney and Hans Christian Anderson,” Martin explained. “Ariel is one of the most famous princesses.”
“Ariel is a mermaid that longs to be human and she realizes that she can be,” divulged Martin about the production.
“We always do one child friendly production each year,” she said. “Everyone is excited about the familiar characters.”
“The Little Mermaid” has also been getting attention from adult audiences as of late with an adult version now on Broadway, she said.
This performance is rather groundbreaking for the community theater, Martin pointed out, noting the direct correlation between that fact and the large cast.
“Every time we have rehearsal, there are three of them,” she explained. Rehearsals might last 45 minutes for each group during the week, for example, but for Martin it’s three times the work of keeping it all moving. Plus there have been large rehearsals on Saturday and Sunday to contend with, something she said she doesn’t mind because it helps provide a quality show to the audience.
This performance will run weekends Aug. 8-24. Each weekend will have two performances on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and one on Sunday at 3 p.m..
“The sponsor for this show is SweetFrog,” said Martin.
When asked how she managed to get such a wid spread group from so many locations, Martin explained that she just advertised the production and the kids showed up. She figures they must have been telling their friends.
“I work with a lot children,” she said. “Everyone’s interested. Everyone that auditioned was put in a cast.”
“I want these kids to enjoy and learn, and build their self-esteem and their love of the performing arts,” she stated. “I wanted everyone to have the opportunity to be in it.”
Martin has directed numerous productions, and this is the 42nd one in her career.
“My last show was ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and my next will be the ‘Little Shop of Horrors’,” she said.
She also has her own musical troupe, teaches voices lessons, and has been a teacher with Sampson County Schools for 10 years.
Reach Emily M. Hobbs at 910-644-0447. Follow us on twitter @SampsonInd.