Have you ever heard anything so wonderful in your life? The Franklin High School Performing Arts will be putting on “The Little Mermaid” for its annual musical production. The Franklin Theater program has been wowing us for ages with such classic productions as “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Addams Family,” and last year’s “Mamma Mia!”. Each fall, Franklin’s auditorium is packed with families and friends eager to see our productions. But how does this all come together?
Every year, Franklin’s thespians club and dance and theater staff come together to pick the production for the fall. “We all throw out some ideas and then we think about … what may fit best,” says Jason Owens. Owens is the band and orchestral director here at Franklin. Usually, the staff must make room in the budget for set construction, in addition to musical rights and other expenses. However, this year our theater community decided to go for a projected set. “We’re projecting an image [of the setting],” says Portia Hall Rockne, a social studies and dance teacher at Franklin, who is also helping coach the dancers for the musical. Hall assures that “the production will still include a ship, and other physical set pieces.”
Of course, a musical couldn’t be made without the talent working behind the stage. Franklin has a run crew, costume designers, light technicians, stage managers, makeup artists, and of course, directors to lead the cast. “It’s just a lot of students working together to make something beautiful,” says Astro Rocket, a stage manager who’s worked on several Franklin Performing Arts shows, including last year’s “Mamma Mia!” production. Stage managers facilitate communication across all creative and technical departments, and usually act as right hand to the directors of the production; who oversee sets, props, sound, lights, and call technical cues during performances. Currently, Franklin has four stage managers who assist drama director Josh Forsythe.
While the production will follow the classic story of a mermaid falling for a handsome prince, Hall mentions that the production will emphasize Ariel’s “feeling that she wasn’t born in the right body.” Hall adds, “she just wants her family to accept her as a human.” The show will include all of the classic scenes from the Disney animated film, including “Part of your World,” and the iconic “Under the Sea” dance performance.
The roles of Ariel and Ursula have both been double casted, meaning two actors are cast for the same role, and alternate performances. In theater, it is actually quite common to double-cast; for example, “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway double casted some of its roles due to the challenging vocal score and the schedule of the production, according to Live Nation Entertainment.
Tickets for “The Little Mermaid” went on sale the week of Oct. 1, and can be purchased using the link on the Franklin Theater Instagram (@fhs.theater). Evening show dates are Nov. 1, Nov. 3-4, and Nov. 9-11, with a matinee performance on Nov. 5 at 2:00 p.m. Due to the potential teacher’s strike, these showings are subject to change. If you bought tickets, be sure to check your email and the theater Instagram for updates. Due to the potential teacher’s strike, these showings are subject to change. If you bought tickets, be sure to check your email and the theater Instagram for updates. Dedicated students and staff have put so much effort into this musical to bring joy to our community. Seeing this year’s production of “The Little Mermaid” is a great chance to see the efforts of Franklin’s talented theater department, and watch your friends in a performance you’ll never forget.