Rehearsals are underway for the Paxton Children’s Theatre production of “The Little Mermaid, Jr.,” and co-director Jenna Horick told The Times-Gazette the cast and crew have been working hard during rehearsals to present an “off-Broadway” level stage presentation.
“We have kids from six or seven counties, from different schools and different places, represented in this show,” she said.
She said her involvement in the children’s theatre at the Paxton is a family affair, with she and her husband Jeff taking on the role of co-directors of the various productions, and their daughter Emma staying involved with characters and choreography.
Jenna Horick is also a fourth-grade math and science teacher at the Hillsboro City Schools, and was part of starting the children’s theater five years ago as a way to allow young people to have an outlet to explore their creative abilities, to perform in theatrical and dramatic roles, and in many instances to break out of their shells of shyness and insecurity.
“That stage becomes their door,” she said. “For example, Simon Gabel, who is one of our music directors, had never even sung before and when he came to an audition for ‘Shrek,’ he got on that stage and was just mesmerized by what he could do up there. He’s at Xavier University now studying vocal music, and he’s just one instance of how this has changed a lot of kids’ lives.”
Gideon Pickering-Polstra, a Hillsboro High School graduate, in addition to playing the role of King Triton also shares the duties of music director with Gabel, according to Jenna Horick.
She said the Paxton Theatre will be transformed into the “under-the-sea” theme of the movie musical, so that theatre goers wouldn’t just attend a performance, but would get to experience the full ambiance of what made the Disney production so memorable.
“These kids have worked so hard,” she said, “and they’ve gone above and beyond in rehearsals to really make this a professional stage production.”
“The Little Mermaid” will be live and on stage Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 9-11 at the Paxton Theatre in Bainbridge.
Jenna Horick said the first performance will be Friday, July 9 at 7 p.m., with two performances on Saturday, July 10 at 3 and 7 p.m., and the curtain call for the production being a matinee at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 11.
Tickets can be purchased online at paxtontheatre.org, on the Paxton Theatre Facebook page or by calling 740-634-0029, and livestream tickets are available at http://ltl.fyi/url/mermaid.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.