Disney’s The Little Mermaid Hits the SWMHS Stage


Lauren Ciudad, Staff Writer

Another colorful fairytale is ready to hit the SWMHS stage! Completing the 2022-2023 season, this year’s musical cast is thrilled to present Disney’s The Little Mermaid. A classic movie from our childhood, Ariel’s memorable story was adapted for the Broadway stage (Lunt-Fontanne Theatre) in 2008. Since then, many schools, community theatre productions, and even regional productions have gotten to perform the famous numbers “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl,” among many others. 

The cast’s leading lady, senior Grace Herrick, couldn’t be more excited. “I had multiple Ariel costumes growing up and would sing her songs every chance I got,” she says. “To say this is a dream come true is such a huge understatement.” 

But for Herrick and many other cast members, these roles are a completely new experience. Director Laura DiStaulo challenges her actors to step out of their comfort zones with roles entirely opposite to their casting types. Senior and returning cast member, Ryan Yuhas, plays the show’s iconic villain, Ursula. “Obviously this role was written for a female,” Yuhas explained. “I had to move, speak and sing differently, which seems easy, but when playing Ursula, you have to take it to the next level.” For Herrick, the challenge was similar. “The hardest part of this role was stepping out of my comedic, villainous type-cast and becoming the ingenue I’ve always wanted to play,” she says. 

Junior cast member Marissa Rowley (Flounder) feels at home in her new role. On and off the stage, she continues to bring energy to every rehearsal, excited to play the fan-favorite fish. “Flounder is definitely a comfort character to many people, including myself. [I’ll] cherish this role forever.”

While for Rowley, this is another school musical added to her repertoire, for actors like Yuhas and Herrick, it is their last show at SWMHS. In an interview, Herrick thanked her fellow seniors for the many years of performances together. “[These are] the people I’ve shared the stage with since sixth grade. The people who I’ve cried, laughed and sang with from day one. Thank you for the carpools, the karaoke, and the memories.” Yuhas shares the sentiment. “I will miss being in the same creative space with [the cast,]” he says. 

Everything from the work of costumer Cynthia Gallagher, sets by Michael Mergner’s set design crew, the tech work run by Nicholas Taylor’s tech crew, and the business run by Megan Terrano’s crew of students was created with passion. Directed by Laura DiStaulo, musically directed by Justin Sanford, and choreographed by Jensyn Modero, the production team is hard at work with the cast to deliver the perfect dose of nostalgia this March.

See SWMHS Theatre Society’s The Little Mermaid on March 24 at 7 PM and March 25 at 1 PM and 7 PM. Tickets can be purchased here