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Quaker Valley students head 'under the sea' for musical

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 12:02 a.m.
Sewickley Herald
Susie Moffett applies makeup to Quaker Valley Middle School eighth-grader Grace Rogansky, for cast photos of 'The Little Mermaid Jr.' at Quaker Valley High School Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. Rogansky plays a tentacle in the production, which will take place at 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald

For eighth-grader Genevieve Carlson of Edgeworth, rehearsals for her part in the musical “Little Mermaid JR.” have gone swimmingly.

Genevieve, 13, daughter of Anna and Ron Carlson, will play mermaid Ariel in Quaker Valley Middle School Drama Club's musical, which will be performed Saturday in the Quaker Valley High School auditorium.

She said she is having so much fun in every part of the show, especially when she gets to wear her “Heelys.” “They are tennis shoes with wheels on the heels of the shoe so that I roll around. It gives the effect that I am swimming. I have so much room to try new things and movements on my Heelys. I even wear them around my house,” she said.

Her costumes will include a long green skirt that looks like a mermaid tail and purple sea shells, a long red wig and several “lovely” dresses she will wear when she is a human.

During the show, Genevieve, who will dance a little bit when she sings “Under the Sea” and “Human Stuff,” also will sing “Part of Your World,” which she said is fun to perform, because “everybody knows it.

“Then there are the famous ‘ahh's' that I sing in four different scenes,” she said.

But, her favorite song in the show definitely is “Under the Sea,” she said,

“It's so catchy. It always gets stuck in my head.”

It's harder, she said, to pick her favorite part of the musical.

“I love the whole thing. I think that my answer would probably be anytime that I get to sing or the scenes with Ursula,” she said, who is played by her friend Olivia Billings. One of her eels, Flotsam, is played by another friend, Emily Watters. “I just really love performing on stage with them.”

Genevieve also performed in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” last year at the middle school, and participated in Performing Arts Camp at Sewickley Academy two summers ago when she appeared in two musicals, “The Boyfriend,” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

She also participated in several Christmas musicals at the Edgeworth Club when she was younger.

She has been taking voice lessons for four years, currently with Amy Stabnau.

“I really have to thank her for everything, because she helped me so much with my songs,” she said.

“I feel so fortunate and grateful to have received this opportunity. It has been so amazing.”

Johnathan Roppo, a Quaker Valley High School senior who also is an executive producer for the show, said “Little Mermaid JR.” was proposed by choreographer, Nick Medich, Quaker Valley junior, because he thought it would be fun and have good opportunities for ensemble.

Musical director Lou Valenzi agreed, and auditions were held in September. Rehearsals started in early October, and students have been rehearsing about three to five times a week. Also joining Genevieve on stage will be Caleb Bender as Prince Eric, Zeke Gonzalez as Sebastian, Elizabeth Manuel as Flounder and Jack Mueller as King Triton.

Genevieve said her ultimate goal would be to work as a performer someday.

“Musical theater is what I love. It makes me so happy. I think that would be absolutely amazing if I could pursue it as a career, but it is really unpredictable. I hope someday that could be possible though.” she said.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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