March 2019

An Evening Under the Sea: HHCA presents Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Author: Charlie Clark | Photographer: Gustavo Rattia

With a 20-piece live orchestra, 140 costumes and a cast of 54, Hilton Head Christian Academy’s spring production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid brings an evening under the sea to the Lowcountry. Audiences will be treated to the tale of Ariel the mermaid’s otherworldly ocean life as she longs for Prince Eric (Ben Jones), who lives on land, and bargains with the evil sea witch Ursula to trade in her tail. With a few faithful friends including Sebastian the crab (Ethen Cornett), Flounder the fish (Millie Gilbreath), and seagull Scuttle (Madison MacCabe) to help, and a score by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, this Disney favorite will delight audiences of all ages.

Hilton Head Christian Academy is well known for its award-winning theater, arts and music programming. Last year’s spring show, The Sound of Music, was voted by BroadwayWorld as South Carolina’s best non-professional musical in 2018. Lead actress Jacey Robinson, who plays the lovely lead Ariel in The Little Mermaid, took top honors as Best Actress in a non-professional production.

This is a vibrant show with an amazing array of costumes, and the undersea set truly transports theater-goers to life in the deep blue sea. “This is one we’ve been wanting to do for years,” said Michelle McElroy, HHCA’s theater director. “There are a lot of fun character roles, and growing up, it was always my favorite Disney movie. I’m thrilled to have so many of our students involved in this production.”

The production is filled with students from grades 1-12 including the final HHCA curtain call for HHCA seniors Jacey Robinson (Ariel), Samantha Norton (Ursula), and Reedy Newton (Flotsam), Max Arraj (Pilot), and Bryce Macaulay (Grimsby). Choreographer Jamal Edwards is also an HHCA alumnus. Over 70 percent of HHCA’s students are involved in arts programming with some going on to professional careers in the arts after college.

McElroy noted that it’s also a great training ground for behind-the-scenes work where students work side-by-side with professionals on the production’s tech crew. The Little Mermaid has two student stage managers. Student musicians are also paired with professionals under the leadership of musical director James Berry.

The music, which includes songs like “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World,” is known and loved by theater fans. “Menken is a master of those songs that are in your head and your heart long after the curtain call,” Berry said.

The show’s four performances will run March 21-23 at the Seahawk Cultural Center. Attendees are encouraged to reserve seats early for this popular production at www.hhcadrama.eventbrite.com. Tickets are $12 for students and seniors and $18 for adults.

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