Students hope to make a splash in ‘The Little Mermaid’

Published 9:57 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2017

High school production to showcase creative costuming

The Albert Lea High School drama department has been working on everything under the sun — and sea — for this year’s fall musical.

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Director Diane Heaney said “The Little Mermaid” has put many students in the spotlight.

“It has a lot of really good characters, so it spreads out the work and the opportunities for the kids to kind of really shine,” Heaney said.

Ellie Reichel as Ursula and Natalie Day and William Kreun as Flotsam and Jetsam rehearse Tuesday at Albert Lea High School. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

One such student is Jessica Weiland, who will play Scuttle in the upcoming performances. She said solidifying her characterization of Scuttle was streamlined by playing another eccentric character in an earlier show.

“I feel like it’s easier because Mrs. Heaney has gotten it out of me before, so I feel like we’ve been able to do more with it,” Weiland said.

According to student Brayden Boettcher, who plays Flounder, familiarity with the play and its characters can work in the favor of the student actors.

“It’s not very hard to really push it onto the stage when you already have the idea of what it is in your head,” Boettcher said. “It kind of makes it easier.”

Heaney qualified a similar sentiment.

Cali Mowers will play Ariel and Ethan Eriksmoen will play Sebastian in Albert Lea High School’s upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid.” – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

“It doesn’t offer as much creativity for them, for the kids to create their own characters … but on the other hand, it’s good,” she said. “They understand it. They identify with it.”

However, because the performance is the Broadway musical version and not the Disney movie rendition, Boettcher estimates that approximately 50 percent of the musical will be different for those familiar with the movie but not the play.

Also in the spotlight will be eight projected sets made possible by a new video projection system the department acquired last year too late to use for the spring production. Heaney said they were able to buy some software and to project scenes such as the open sea, a storm, the port, a beach and the palace interior from Prince Eric’s castle. The underwater projections have wave ripples and even fish swimming by, Heaney said.

Josh Englin as Prince Eric and Cali Mowers as Ariel rehearse Tuesday at Albert Lea High School. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

“So instead of building a whole new set for each of those, we’re kind of projecting those,” she said. “We can use the video.”

In addition to a colorful set, Heaney said the audience can look forward to loving the characters and the costumes. For Weiland and Boettcher, the costumes do influence the show.

“The costumes are a lot different than what we’ve done in the last couple of shows,” Weiland said.


“Well, we’re like, not human beings,” she said.

This made it a little harder for the actors and chorus members, because instead of behaving like background people, they have to consider what it means to behave like, say, a seahorse. Or a jellyfish. Or in Weiland’s case, a bird.

“I think it will be easier for the audience after they see it for the first time to be like, ‘Oh, they’re creatures,’ you know?” Boettcher said. “It will probably take like a little switch, but once people make that switch, it will be fine.”

According to Heaney, all of this was made possible by a lot of hard work. This includes work by the students, but also by the adults helping with set, costumes and choreography.

And of course, there’s Heaney herself.

“You can’t stop her when it’s musical season,” Weiland said.

The cast and pit orchestra for Albert Lea High School’s production of “The Little Mermaid” rehearse the song “Kiss the Girl” on Tuesday. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Tickets, please

What: “The Little Mermaid”

Where: Albert Lea High School

When: 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday

How much: $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors

More info.: tickets available at Albert Lea CVB ahead of time or at the door on show night

Ethan Eriksmoen rehearses his role as Sebastian on Tuesday at the high school. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

‘The Little Mermaid’ cast and crew

Ariel: Cali Mowers

Prince Eric: Josh Englin

Grimsby: Noah Wiese

Pilot: Jeorge Brinda

Flounder: Brayden Boettcher

Scuttle: Jessica Weiland

King Triton: Michael Blong

Sebastian: Ethan Eriksmoen

Aquata: Terri Wolfe

Andrina: Charley Fleek

Arista: Sydney Doran

Atina: Marissa Vogt

Adella: Carley Talamantes

Allana: Rowan Kraft

Ursula: Ellie Reichel

Flotsam: Natalie Day

Jetsam: William Kreun

Chef Louis: Kyle Nelson

Windward: Haley DeSart

Leeward: Katie Funk

Sailors, sea creatures, maids, gulls and chef assistants: Ashler Benda, Aiden Brumbaugh, Samantha Brumbaugh, Grace Dawson, Mackenzie Deyo, Madison Doyle, Presley Duenes, Alex Eckstrom, Lydia Fluth, Kathrynn Gallardo, Daniela Galvan, Lisbeth Magdaleno Garcia, Olivia Goodmanson, Noah Hanson, Bu Htoo, Logan Howe, Kamden Larson, Jacob Leal, Macayla Marti, Maggie Moller, Wyatt Reed, Maddie Schei, Htee Wah Shee, Brian Solberg, Gracie Studier, Aline Teran, Alec Wendelboe

Pit orchestra: Gigi Otten, Paige Thompson, Grace Chalmers, Steve Weisgram, Olivia Stensrud, Jens Lange, Morgan Bjorklund, Emma Barclay, Parker Jenson, Romario Rosas, Diane Heaney

Tech crew: Andrew Rochleau, Jarret Flink, Ryan Winter


“The Little Mermaid” will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Albert Lea High School. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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