Under the Sea

URSULA THE SEA WITCH (Angelique Woodrich) plots her next move as her minions Flotsam and Jetsam (Elizabeth Fultz and Kathy Vang) hold up a scroll that lists all the “poor, unfortunate souls” Ursula has claimed.

Tracy Area High School thespians delve below the surface for Disney classic, ‘The Little Mermaid’

By Per Peterson


That’s one of the main reasons Erin Dahmes chose “The Little Mermaid” for this year’s Tracy Area High School musical.

Fun for her. Fun for the teenage thespians. And fun for the 40 members of the Tracy Children’s Choir, who will be featured numerous times during the school’s upcoming presentations of the Disney Classic.

“This will be a great one to get them involved,” Dahmes said of the children’s choir. “I love getting them involved in the shows.”

There is also a selfish reason Dahmes chose “The Little Mermaid,” as it will be the final show she directs at TAHS (she’s moving back to her hometown).

“This is kind of my last hurrah,” she said. “I’m excited to do this one — I kind of wanted to do this big, fun show before I go.”

Dahmes’ first all-school play was also a musical, “The Wizard of Oz” two years ago. The school takes on musicals every other year.

“With musicals, there’s usually an expectation, because a lot of them are well-known and people have seen them,” Dahmes said. “And there’s the dancing, there’s the costumes, there’s the showmanship of it. Non-musicals are more about the story, and this one’s about the show and the fun of it.”

Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” is a story about mischievous mermaid princess, Ariel, who longs to venture above the sea and onto land, despite her father’s demand she stay away from the world above the surface. She eventually explores this new world after agreeing to trade her melodious voice for legs and then attempts to win a prince’s heart.

Dahmes is impressed about how hard this year’s group of actors have worked so far.

“These kiddos have put so much time and effort in the show,” she said. “You can see they really have improved over time. They’re doing a great job.”

Auditions for “The Little Mermaid” took place the first week of school, with rehearsals starting in mid-September; Dahmes said a little more than two months of practice is typical for musicals at this level.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.