Under The Sea to On the Stage

Jessica Tang, Contributing Writer

From March 5th to March 7th, the Morris Hills auditorium transformed the bottom of the ocean for this year’s spring musical The Little Mermaid. Featuring students Kayla Thomas, Alec Ferguson, Danny Dollase, Kyle Berdin, Katie Lazerotti, Kamryn Koerner and even math teacher Mr. Bermel, the production of The Little Mermaid captured the essence of the original Disney movie released in 1989. With a set full of colors, high-energy performances from the cast, bubbles floating down from the ceiling and much more, the musical was a light-hearted and fun performance for individuals of all ages. Mrs. Calzone, the director of the musical, chose The Little Mermaid for this year because “it offers a fantastic creative opportunity for rich costumes and sets, as well as the chance to perform some of the best-known songs from the past 30 years.” 

It is never easy to put together a musical, and each cast member had their own difficulties. Kayla Thomas (Ariel) had big shoes to fill as everyone had certain expectations of her performance, especially when compared to the Disney production. She noted that “one of the difficulties I personally faced was relating to my character because there are no mermaids in real life.” Kamryn Koerner, who played Ursula, also faced similar challenges. Koerner stated that “the most difficult thing was making this role larger than life. Through the process, my directors really helped me try to bring it out, but I didn’t fully reach it until our last tech rehearsal when I had the full costume, and the amazing lights. The costumes and set really brought everything together, because this show is really just for the spectacle Disney creates.” In addition to developing into the roles of the character that each cast member played, Alec Ferguson (Pilot, Chef Louis, bass fish) also noted that there were some more technical difficulties. He noted that “lots of people had to double or triple up on roles. While I enjoyed playing every role, I struggled to change quickly and change into different characters constantly”. 


Aside from the various challenges that each member faced during the creation of the production, another component was added to this year’s production — Cookies with the Cast. On Saturday, March 7th, the cast and crew put on a matinee performance and following the production, younger kids and their families had the opportunity to meet cast members, enjoy cookies with them, and take pictures. Mrs. Niemo, a science teacher at Morris Hills, brought her young son to the matinee show and noted that they both had a wonderful experience, both during the production and the Cookies with the Cast event. She noted that “the entire cast was so welcoming, and sweet to us. Getting to meet his [her son’s] favorite character, Flounder, was definitely the highlight of his year!” The idea to put on the Cookies with the Cast event was Mrs. Calzone’s as it reminded her of the Character Dining in Disney World, one of her favorite places. She states, “it was very successful and we were able to collect a good amount of money in donations that will go right back into our program!” 

Congratulations to the cast, stage crew, and pit orchestra on another successful production. All of your hard work and dedication provided the Morris Hills community a night full of smiles and joy!