Logan Buker

The Rangeley School’s Drama Club performance of The Little Mermaid, the Musical was a fantastic two-and-a-half hours of constant energy and fun. Shows ran November 15-17 at The Lakeside Theater, mixing comedic moments with memorable musical numbers the audience would be humming for days afterward.

Erin Smith, RLRS’s music teacher, directed the play with her right-hand cohort Brittany Wetherill, an alumnus of Rangeley, set design by Janice Adler, costumes by LA Jacot-Descombes and Jessica House (along with myriad seamstresses), and lighting by Justin Orazi.

Emma Jacot-Descombes, Ursula the Sea Witch, grew up in a musical environment and has been entertaining others on stage since third grade. Preparing for the role of Ursula required practicing three to four days a week for two hours at a time. “Mrs. Smith has been an excellent coach and teacher.” When asked what her favorite part of the musical was, Emma said, “The last note on ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls.’” When she belt it out her voice could cause a tsunami. Also, Emma was her own makeup artist, transforming herself into a hellish sea witch for five straight performnces, using lots of purple and green and red.

Logan Buker

Janice Adler’s fabulous sets combined with Justin Orazi’s lighting to make you feel as though you were actually “under the sea.” We would swear some audience members were holding their breath. Janice has been doing this since high school and threatens this may be her final show.  Growing up with a dad who was a carpenter helped her refine her skills, as well as her degree in Fine Arts and a minor in Interior Design. She has been doing set design for the RFA and RLRS for about 10 years and is in the process of retiring. We asked her what made her want to pursue this sort of creative work and she told us, “I love working ‘big’ when it really comes down to it. It’s fun, like creating a whole new world. Unfortunately, the finished product is very temporary.” She also told us her favorite part of the musical was when the audience stood up and applauded as the actors and actresses showed their enjoyment when they walk offstage.

Mrs. Smith succeeds year after year, play after play, encouraging kids to learn about how to negotiate inter- and intra-relationships. The kids have to memorize dialogue, learn songs, practice movement and blocking, manage their time between classes, sports, jobs, and home, work with a wide variety of personalities, take direction and criticism, conquer fear, overcome setbacks and so much more. This type of experience will remain with them all the rest of their days. And after all is said and sung, the beautiful set is razed and the kids return to their natural states.

“This was the most fun I had with a play in a long time,” said senior Lu Farmer, Prince Eric. “I was more concerned with my younger peers than with my own performance because it was my last year. I’m proud of what we all have accomplished together.” Lu has been working with Mrs. Smith since third grade and has appeared in many plays, both with RLRS and The Rangeley Friends of the Arts. We hope Lu continues acting on stage because she brings her characters to life in an undeniably entertaining way.

Logan Buker

Ella Shaffer, the Little Mermaid Ariel, said she had a great time playing Ariel but does not miss the itchy, red wig. Her mellifluous voice is that of a mythical siren, able to cause wayward sailors to crash upon the rocks. Mrs. Smith said of her performance, “Every time Ella, Ariel, sang her opening song, I cried.”

The entire production may have been under the sea but the performance was sky high.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.