Norwalk Reflector: 'These kids will shine' in Willard's version of 'The Little Mermaid'

'These kids will shine' in Willard's version of 'The Little Mermaid'

Cary Ashby • Mar 26, 2017 at 10:00 AM

WILLARD — The struggle has been real for spring musical director Cindy Light. 

“We have not had a full cast yet due to illness and everyone's full schedules,” she said. 

Also snow has caused a problem with rehearsals for “The Little Mermaid.”

“Willard was closed two days (recently). I don't know if people realize how difficult it is to make up that time,” Light said.

Willard High School will perform “The Little Mermaid” at 7:30 p.m. April 7 and 8. 

Rehearsals started Jan. 9. The 30-member cast includes eight elementary school students and 10 from the middle school.

“The students this year seem to be more respectful of directors, of each other and of the whole experience. In past years we've had lots of ‘drama’ and yelling. This time I'm the only one yelling,” Light said with a smile.

Her assistant director is Brian Napier, who oversees sound and lights.

“I have been so impressed with how prepared Cindy is. There have been so many components,” he said.

When it comes to lighting, Napier said he has been challenged with creating a difference between the “soft blue sky” and the characters being underwater, which includes four to five settings.

“When we’re at the palace, I was thinking of purple,” he added. “I really want to see the transition between scenes.”

The student director is junior Pressley Buurma, who assisted with last year’s play “Twin Desperados” and the spring musical “Sleeping Beauty.” For “The Little Mermaid,” she coordinates the stage hands, helps with sets and handles some choreography.

“I’m also in charge of the other actors. When Mrs. Light is working with people on stage, I’m working with them off stage,” Buurma said.

“Mrs. Light did ‘The Little Mermaid Jr.’ this summer at the Bucyrus Little Theatre, so she didn’t have to redo many scenes,” the teenager added.

Light expected the Willard musical to be easier since she directed the younger version.

“The music and script are longer and more complicated. The music for the (junior version) is all on CD, so the kids performed it exactly as they heard it in rehearsal. But we have an awesome student pit orchestra and while it is more difficult to coordinate, it is well worth the effort,” she said.

The orchestra has been practicing separately. The musicians will rehearse with the cast during the last three weeks.

“Some choreography carried over and while I'm using some of the same costumes  — there are over 100 — and set pieces, we've still had to build many,” Light said.

The director sees high-school productions as an opportunity to showcase students’ talents.

“High school theater is all about the kids. Working together on a production is such an important learning experience. Each young person brings his (or) her special talents and personality and does his (or her) best to make the show great. It is their time to shine,” Light said.

“Why come to see WHS production of ‘The Little Mermaid’? Because these kids will shine.”

Norwalk Reflector Videos