The talented troupe of Cornerstone Youth Theatre is gearing up for their latest show, The Little Mermaid. Performances run May 29th-30th and June 5th-6th at New Life Fellowship Church, with curtain at 7 p.m. There are 3 p.m. shows on May 30th and June 6th as well.
Journey ‘under the sea’ with Ariel and her aquatic friends in this musical production.
In a magical underwater kingdom, the beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home – and her fins – behind and live in the land above the sea. But first she’ll have to defy her father, King Neptune, make a deal with the evil sea witch, Octavia, and convince the handsome Prince Eric that she’s the girl whose enchanting voice he’s been seeking.
“I think that The Little Mermaid is a story that is so much about growing up,” explained director Tori Grebinski. “Sometimes we know in our hearts what is right for us even when life’s barriers seem overwhelming. But you never know what you truly believe unless you put yourself out there and try.
“I think there is something to be said for those who don’t let skeptics or conformity get in their way of them reaching their dreams.”
The Little Mermaid was originally written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen and it was first published in 1837. Over the years, the story has been adapted to various media, including musical theatre and animated film.
“We have 62 students in this session. And we have 11 on crew – so 73 altogether. It’s amazing.”
She said the rendition Cornerstone selected isn’t the Disney version, but it’s a wonderful retelling of the classic story just the same. “We have quite a few main speaking roles, but we also have a large chorus as well,” she explained. “There are many fun characters in our show.
“It’s a story we all know and love, and (playwright) Mark Russell did an amazing job of creating his own interpretation of a story we all know and love. Sometimes we find some resolutions through some unique circumstances, however Russell keeps the storyline and the music very ‘Disney-esque’ and true to the image we all have in our minds of what The Little Mermaid is.
“It’s turned out to be a tonne of fun making this show our own. I don’t think the kids even notice it’s not the Disney version anymore, it’s the version that they love and it’s really fun. The songs are still super-fun to dance to.”
Grebinski has certainly had her hands full with such an enormous cast, but she’s taken it all in stride. She admits it’s been challenging at times, but adds that, “I also think those challenges are the best part.
“Every child and every volunteer comes into every show with so many wonderful talents and ideas. My job is to try and channel those ideas, so it’s the best sort of ‘problem’ to have in my opinion,” she laughs.
Meanwhile, Cornerstone Youth Theatre staff work to provide theatrical opportunities throughout the year. There are week-long musical theater summer day camps offered in several locations around the Red Deer area.
Camps are offered for ages five to 18. Highlights include team competitions, rotations through daily drama, dance, music and craft workshops, a daily theme-related devotional and a concluding showcase for family and friends.
They also offer 10-week sessions during the school year (fall, winter and spring.) Children ages six to 18 may select one theater class per session.
A variety of classes are offered (core classes in drama, voice and dance, plus specialty classes which vary from session to session). Wrapping things up is a high-energy showcase presented by each class for the other students as well as family and friends.
As for The Little Mermaid, there are plenty of reasons for its undeniable staying power and enduring popularity, said Grebinski, who has choreographed the last four Cornerstone shows, summer camp shows and has also co-directed one production. “I think The Little Mermaid reminds us of the struggles we face growing up and not only the consequences of our actions, but it also has an ending that we all desire for our own lives, I think. So we kind of grab onto that.”
As for directing, she’s said it’s turned out to be an amazing experience.
“Cornerstone is a group like no other – not only do you feel a constant buzz of excitement but you also feel an overwhelming sense of acceptance, family and togetherness. All the hard work that’s put into everything really shows.
“It inspires me to see how everyone comes together to create this work of art.”
For ticket information, call 403-986-2981 or check out www.cornerstoneyouththeatre.org. Tickets are also available at the door.