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Dive beneath the sea with FCS Players
'Disney's The Little Mermaid' runs through Saturday in Yuba City
'Disney's The Little Mermaid'
TIMES: 7:30 p.m. today-Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: First United Methodist Church, 3101 Colusa Highway, Yuba City
TICKETS: $8 and $10
The FCS Players Young People's Summer Theatre Program is bringing "Disney's The Little Mermaid" to the Yuba-Sutter community.
Co-directed by Alex Cesena, Jessica Hoffart and Katie Jones, with musical direction by Jeff Poppinga, the production runs today through Saturday at First United Methodist Church in Yuba City.
"This is another opportunity to experience what a wonderful and artistically talented community we live in," said artistic director and producer Paul DeMeritt.
"This is actually a really old tale. In 1835, Hans Christian Andersen published his first collection of fairy tales, and in one of his earliest editions was this story about a little mermaid. It was the people's love for this story that led ultimately to the famous statue of the little mermaid in Copenhagen Harbor in Denmark," DeMeritt said.
In Disney's adaptation of the classic tale, the little mermaid Ariel (Georgia Genobaga and Charisma Ledesma) is the daughter of the sea king, King Triton (Evan Campbell and Alex Samay).
After saving a young Prince Eric (Nick Fortna and Journey Granados) from drowning, Ariel falls in love with the prince and trades away her voice to the evil sea witch, Ursula (Brenna Campbell and Billie Smith), for a chance to become human.
"And like all great Disney stories, even though there are some bumps and jolts along the way, it has a wonderful, happy ending," DeMeritt said.
"We have almost 100 young people involved in this production. There are two casts of about 40-plus students each, and then our staff and crew. The casts will alternate — each will do three performances," DeMeritt added.
The principle roles include Griffin Genobaga and Brenna Visaraga as Sebastian; Lily Long and Tess Scott as Flounder; Lydia Crist and Olivia Hansel as Scuttle; Matthew Hadley and Ben Halpin as Grimsby; Katie Jacenich and Anna Preston as Carlotta; and John LaBouyer and Josh Sanders as Chef Louis.
DeMeritt said Walt Disney originally wanted to do produce a full-length animated film of "The Little Mermaid" in 1940. "But the technology just was not where he wanted it to be to do undersea animation, so he held off. About 50 years later, the people at Disney said, 'You know, we can do this.' And then they made it happen," DeMeritt said.
"It's a great show and has all the wonderful Disney magic: great heroes and heroines; a powerful, spooky villain; and it really does teach some wonderful life lessons. It helps us look at what it means when we try to do our own thing or get our own way — and taking time to look at the consequences of our actions," DeMeritt said.
According to DeMeritt, the Music Circus and the FCS Players are the two companies that were selected to premiere "The Little Mermaid" in Northern California outside of performances presented by the professional Broadway touring company.
"I think people should see both productions, if they are able to. But certainly, if they don't want to drive to Sacramento, this is a great opportunity to see a cast of wonderful young Mid-Valley performers in a high-energy production that is really going to stand up well in comparison to any other production of this that you'll see," DeMeritt said.
He added that although he has been in and loves professional theater, "One of the things that I love about educational theater is the young people bring a special dynamic, a special zeal, a special enthusiasm to the stage, particularly in a smaller venue, that you simply can't match anywhere else.
"When you see young people from your community performing and singing and dancing their hearts out in a Broadway show, there's just something magical there that is absolutely irreplaceable," DeMeritt said.