'The Little Mermaid' musical comes to Wilsonville High School this November

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL - Sophomore Natalie Young (left), sophomore Tristan Ihelenburg, senior Kalonni Smith, junior Garrett Dixon and sophomore Ari Lauthner are part of the cast for 'The Little Mermaid.'A group of Wilsonville High School students glide in their heelys — shoes with skate wheels embedded in the bottom — across the stage to create a smooth underwater effect during their rehearsal of "The Little Mermaid."

"How do you make mermaids who move so easily in a cartoon, work on stage? The original Broadway production had Ariel, some of the mersisters, and some of the other characters on heelys, so you get a sense of gliding through the water," said Director Jason Katz, adding that it has been a learning curve. "There's definitely been some scares, some falls, but some of them are getting pretty good at it."

Opening night for the musical will be Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in the high school's auditorium. Students will perform a total of seven times during the first two weekends in November — Nov. 3, 4, 8, 9 and 10 — and there will be a matinee performance Saturday Nov. 11 at 2 p.m.

"Several of them are close to being sold out already," said Katz, adding that the WHS theater only seats 300.

Sophomore Noah Hansen, who is playing Eric, also played a lead role in last year's musical, "Anything Goes."

"In this, I feel a lot more experienced and I feel I can help out a lot more with the young people coming in," Hansen said. "I feel like the singing in the show is coming together very nicely; everyone's voices go well together."

For sophomore Annabelle McClelland — playing Ariel — and junior Peyton Guenther — playing Ursula — "The Little Mermaid" was a favorite childhood D isney movie.

"When I was little, I used to watch 'Little Mermaid' once a month or more because it was my absolute favorite Disney movie," McClelland said. "A lot of (my role) is singing, but also a lot of the second act, since I don't talk because I lose my voice, I have to do a lot of facial acting and using my body to portray what's going on."

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL - Sophomore Annabelle McClelland (left) plays Ariel and senior Kalonni Smith (right) plays Sebastian in 'The Little Mermaid.'And while McClelland said that is challenging at times, it's a fun challenge.

Guenther, too, is a huge fan. Her middle name was even named after Ariel, so she is really looking forward to perform as Ursula.

"I wear this green sparkly corset that has my tentacles attached to it. I have eight tentacles I can pull up with my wrist and I wear a giant skirt that has about eight big layers of tulle and tutu," Guenther said. "I've been waddling like a duck (but) they did grant me the privilege of not being on heelys."

The level of creativity in costumes has been a huge aspect in this musical as well. The musical contains 41 students and half are ensemble, where some switch characters as many as five times. And while most costumes were borrowed, head costumer and parent Leslie Jenson said most costumes had to be revamped, and they also had to create elaborate headbands for several characters.

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL - Head costumer Leslie Jenson says that, on average, the characters have three costume changes. "It's been neat to be creative and think about the environment this play is all about — under the sea," Jenson said. "I love the bright colors and fabrics. I'm a big fan of 'The Little Mermaid' so it has been fun to see these characters come to life. This is basically an explosion of color, texture and characters."

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and children. While it is preferred that children ages five and up attend the show, the department will be hosting a Little Mermaid Character Tea Saturday Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. for toddlers and preschoolers. The tea will be $5 per child at the door, with a $10 family maximum. For ticket information go to

Wilsonville Spokesman reporter Clara Howell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-636-1281 ext: 112.

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL - Sophomore Samantha Katz (left), senior Kalonni Smith, senior Hannah Jensen, sophomore Tristan Ihelenburg and sophomore Cami Saunders strike a pose toward the end of a scene.SPOKESMAN PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL - Sophomore Annabelle McClelland (left) and senior Kalonni Smith (right) rehearse a scene for the upcoming musical.SPOKESMAN PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL - Freshmen Corcmac Lister (left), Kate Jeffries (middle) and Hailey Flick (right) enjoy rehearsal weeks before opening night.SPOKESMAN PHOTO: CLARA HOWELL - Sophomores Casey Young (left) and Ari Lauthner (right) rehearse as part of the ensemble.

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