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Sherwood actors ride the waves of ‘Mermaid’ magic

by Judith Hruz
The musical has long been over, but if you walk through the halls of Sherwood High School – and listen very carefully – you can almost hear the voice of Ariel wafting from the Ertzman Theater.
The impact the school’s fall musical, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” had on the four student-actors who played the lead roles — Kate Diuguid and Emily Scholl as the title character Ariel and Luke Hanson and Ben Schoenberg as Prince Eric – is palpable.
Well over a month after the show closed – it ran Nov. 18-21 – the four and their theater teacher, Elizabeth Kominski, spoke as if they could have jumped onto the stage and begun performing without missing a beat.
“All of the songs are still inside my head,” Scholl, a senior, said.
The others agreed.
“I find myself humming the songs or singing them to myself,” Hanson, also a senior, said.
Actors often say musicals are hard to shake because of how all-consuming the songs can be, but Sherwood’s mermaids and princes were as impressed by the dialogue, the set and the costumes, too.
Diuguid, a senior, said it was important to deliver the lines as people remember them because so many of them were taken exactly from the movie. “People have a connection to the movie, so we had to be those characters they remember,” she said.
The costumes were luscious and the set was impressive.
After all, Schoenberg, a sophomore, said, “We had to find a way to simulate under water.”
“The Little Mermaid,” the animated feature that hit movie theaters in 1989, is about 16-year-old mermaid Ariel, who is curious about life on land and longs to be part of the human world.
Despite her father, King Triton, warning her not to go on land, she frequently visited the surface. On one of those visits, she falls for a human prince, Eric.
After a horrible storm, Ariel saves Eric, who vaguely remembers that he was rescued by a girl with a beautiful voice; he vows to find her, and Ariel vows to find a way to join Eric. To be with Prince Eric, she makes a deal with Sea Witch Ursula to become a human for three days.
Ultimately, of course, they live happily ever after.
Kominski, Sherwood’s theater director and an English teacher, made sure the cast and crew watched “The Little Mermaid” movie to make their version as authentic a reproduction as possible, she said.
And if that wasn’t enough pressure, the show marked the first musical in Ertzman Theater in two years.
“We knew what the audience wanted, and we had to appeal to all ages,” Hanson said, adding the patrons were young and old and everywhere in between.
“There was excitement in the crowd,” Schoenberg said.
“And that made us excited,” Scholl said.
“We are still excited,” Diuguid said.

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