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Connellsville Junior High to present 'Little Mermaid Jr.'

| Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 8:35 p.m.
Lori C. Padilla | for the Daily Courier
King Triton, played by Brandon Pospisil, warns his daughter Ariel, portrayed by Abriana Colborn, to stay away from Ursula and enjoy her life under the sea.
Lori C. Padilla | for the Daily Courier
Connellsville Junior High School is preparing for its spring presentation of 'The Little Mermaid Jr.,' the story of a young mermaid who longs to enjoy life above the water. Sea Witch Ursula finds a way to trap Ariel into her fiendish plans. Madison Wiltrout (center) portrays Ursula with her minions (from left) Brittney Hall, Rilyn Miller, Olivia Uram, Allenna Stenger, Haley Tyrrell, Haylei Mickey and Casandra Nangle.

“The Little Mermaid Jr.” opens Friday at Connellsville Junior High School with a majestic, mystical ship onstage.

“It is very impressive,” said Ben Haines, director and producer of the Connellsville Junior High CenterStage musical, which will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the junior high auditorium.

“We are expecting an audience that includes lots of children dressed in their favorite ‘Little Mermaid' outfits, because after the musical they can come down to the front and meet their favorite aquatic characters in full costume and makeup,” musical director Marilee McFadden said. “These young audience members will delight in the story of Ariel and Prince Eric and laugh at the antics of Scuttle, Flounder, Sebastian and even Sea Witch Ursula. The youngsters will be thrilled to visit with their favorite ‘Little Mermaid' characters upclose; parents can bring cameras to take photos.”

“We have a huge ship onstage in the opening scene,” Haines said. “Our backdrops and set pieces are really going to help convey the underwater effect. The costumes are very colorful and exciting. You will see all kinds of different sea creatures in this show. We encourage kids to come down to the stage at the end to meet their favorite characters from ‘The Little Mermaid Jr.' and to come see the show more than once because it is a Disney classic that everyone of all ages will enjoy.”

“The Little Mermaid Jr.” takes place in a magical kingdom beneath the sea, where a beautiful young mermaid named Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. But first, she'll have to defy her father, the king of the sea; escape the clutches of an evil sea witch; and convince a prince that she's the girl with the perfect voice.

More than 100 seventh- and eighth-grade students are involved in the production, which is the first year of combined junior highs for Connellsville Area School District. Dozens of adult volunteers have been an integral part of putting together the production. Choreographers are Kristy Detar and Katie Cline.

Advance tickets are on sale now from 3 to 5 p.m. in front of the junior high auditorium and will be sold at the door one hour before curtain. Tickets for all performances are $7 each.

“This is a fantastic show. The cast members have been dedicated and worked hard. The sea creatures and special nautical effects are really impressive. The dress rehearsals have gone well and the big production numbers, when the entire cast is onstage, are awesome — so colorful, so many different things to see, fish, snails. It's a lot to take in. The under-the-sea scene is great,” said Amy Wiltrout, box office manager. “We are hoping to sell out the auditorium because this is a sweet show.”

“All kids will remember watching this movie,” said Madison Wiltrout, who plays Ursula the sea witch.

“Little Mermaid” T-shirts will be for sale at the show. Refreshments will be available for purchase. For more information, call 724-628-8910.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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