‘The Little Mermaid’ opens at Hinsdale Community House
Kristina Gurgone, 11, of Hinsdale plays an eel in "The Little Mermaid" by Stage Door Fine Arts. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
‘The Little Mermaid’
Stage Door Fine Arts, Community House of Hinsdale, 8th and Madison streets
Call (630) 323-7500 or see stagedoorfinearts.com
Updated: July 25, 2012 2:31PM
For Maddie Moran, the toughest thing about playing the lead in this summer’s Stage Door Fine Arts production of “The Little Mermaid” isn’t remembering her lines, but remembering not to speak.
“Ariel doesn’t speak for the second half of the show,” said Moran, of Lombard, and a veteran of the Stage Door stage.
Not only has she had
to learn to act her part
without making a sound, Moran also learned to roller skate and even to fly for her role as Ariel, the little mermaid who dreams of being human.
Whale of a cast
Preparing the first area production of Disney’s classic tale has been a major undertaking, said Stage Door Director Don Smith. With a cast of 50 ranging in age from 8 to 20-something, the show demands lots of creativity to transport the characters, and the audience, from sea to shore.
Helping to create this onstage magic is assistant director and choreographer Anthony Avino of Oakbrook Terrace. The Roosevelt University student and Stage Door regular also plays Ariel’s crustaceous pal Sebastian.
“I love mermaids,” said Avino. And he also loves the music of this fun, spirited love story. Its familiar songs include “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.”
To create the effect of both an underwater dwelling and an opulent palace, Smith and co-director Paula Taylor turned to the simplest of materials.
The set will feature a backdrop fashioned from 2-liter soda bottles.
“We needed about 3,000,” Smith said. Coca Cola, Roosevelt University and members of the cast and crew all pitched in to collect the needed bottles, which are wired and hot glued together.
“There’s a lot of hot glue and duct tape in this show,” Taylor said.
Lighting will complete the desired effect, said Smith.
Stage Door cut no corners in hiring ZFX Flying, the company that has created flying effects for “Wicked” and “Peter Pan.” Rather than flying, cast members of “The Little Mermaid” will appear to swim and float through the air, thanks to the expertise of ZFX.
Taylor said she is thrilled to bring one of her all-time favorite shows to the Hinsdale stage.
“The movie came out when I was 7,” Taylor said. She became an even bigger fan of Ariel and her underwater pals when her good friend and college roommate, Sierra Boggess, landed the part of Ariel on Broadway.
“She is a big supporter of Stage Door,” Taylor said.
Taylor said the Stage Door crew borrowed a few ideas from the original Broadway production, including the use of wheels to mimic underwater motion.
“Most of the cast is
wearing healies,” Smith said. Costumes have been carefully designed to camouflage the sneakers and their pop-out wheels.
But Smith and Taylor don’t want to give away all of their secrets. To see exactly how the Community House stage is transformed into a fairy tale under the sea, people will just have to come out to see the show.
“It will be a great show for the whole family,” Smith said.