Dorseyville Middle School students ready to raise curtain on 'Little Mermaid Junior'

Tawnya Panizzi
| Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Despite landing a major role in the Dorseyville Middle School fall production, eighth-grader Kieran Bartels is more excited about her costume than her time on stage.

“I have this dress with huge tentacles,” said Kieran, who plays the sea ogre Ursula in Disney's “The Little Mermaid Junior.”

“I get to spray my hair gray with black stripes.”

To celebrate a decade of student productions, Dorseyville Middle School drama directors wanted to make a splash.

This was a fitting choice for middle school students since its message is about following your dreams, said co-director Pamela Miller, who collaborates with Peggy Perdue and Matthew Derby.

“We are trying to do shows that are upbeat and there's a limited number of junior versions out there,” Miller said. “The licensing just became available for this so we were excited.”

Shows are 7 p.m. Nov. 21 and 22, and 10 a.m. Nov. 23. Tickets cost $8.50 and will be sold at the door.

With 60 students in the cast and 40 working on the crew, the show gives many children the chance to become involved in theater.

“The most magical thing is the kids bond and make new friendships,” Perdue said.

“Kids that maybe don't participate in other things come out for this and find a niche.”

Kieran said she looks forward to participating in theater each year for the chance to meet new friends. The group sacrifices weeks of after school free time for rehearsal, but Kieran said “it's all worth it.”

Sixth-grader Madison Heininger plays an octopus in the sea chorus who belts out several scene-setting tunes, most familiar of which is the show's popular “Under the Sea.”

Despite being in “a ton of different scenes,” the 11 year-old said she's not nervous for opening night.

“I'm with a lot of my friends,” she said. “It's fun.”

The lead role of Ariel went to Deirdre Roberts, 14. She has participated in school shows the last two years but said this is by far her biggest role yet.

“I'm a little nervous,” she said. “I have a solo.”

Preston Rowe, 12, plays a sailor and is also in the sea chorus. He loves the switching hats because he sees it as a chance to express different sides of himself.

“I think the audience will love the show,” he said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. She can be reached at

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