Schreiber is swimming with talent in The Little Mermaid

Ava Fasciano, Staff Writer

Hopefully you were lucky enough to witness Schreiber Theater Company’s two-time sell out production of The Little Mermaid.  It blew previous performances out of the water with its extravagant costumes, set design, and showmanship.  The play was a huge hit among Schreiber students, staff, and Port families alike.  The Disney movie The Little Mermaid is considered by many to be a classic, and the Schreiber Theater Company certainly did the source material justice.  Seeing it revitalized by Schreiber students certainly brought a feeling of nostalgia to the audience, as the colorful story and catchy songs are dear to many hearts, and the play was executed in the best possible way thanks to the talented cast, crew, and pit.

Over the span of three months, the actors diligently rehearsed, sometimes working as many as 20 hours a week.  However, the audience may not be aware of the other factors contributing to the show’s success.  After all, those elaborate sets and wave effects do not move themselves. 

“Stage crew is much harder than it looks and it’s a major time commitment,” said junior Jamie Kennelly. 

Schreiber teachers Mrs. Foster and Mrs. Nelson, who teach English and Chemistry respectively, also put huge amounts of effort into making sure everything ran smoothly. 

“I wear a lot of hats.  From costumes to programs to publicity, there’s much to be done,” said Mrs. Nelson.

You may be wondering why these teachers devote so much their free time to school productions like The Little Mermaid.  Mrs. Foster-Holzer, who has been participating in Schreiber theatre ever since she was a student herself, has an especially meaningful connection to high school drama. 

“I keep committing all my time and directing the show because it’s what I’ve done since I was 14 years old.  It’s just natural and fun and rewarding to get to do something like this. It’s a privilege more so than a job,” says Mrs. Foster-Holzer. 

Schreiber is swimming with talent, and the spring musical grants these theatrically inclined students an opportunity to perform.  Junior Sarabeth Schiff was the perfect candidate for the role of Ariel because of her vocal range, ability to convey emotion, and dance skills.  Her mermaid sisters competed comically for King Triton’s attention, each sister’s personality more extravagant than the next.  Senior Jack Gilsenan played the lead male role of Prince Eric, whose minimal role in the Disney movie was expanded to better showcase his love of adventure and compatibility with Ariel.  Ursula, played wickedly by senior Isabelle Verdino, pursued revenge on her brother, junior Max Finkelstein’s King Triton by sabotaging Ariel.  Meanwhile, Flounder, played by sophomore Casey Fanous, struggled to be noticed by the love of his life.  Junior Eden Franco’s accent and charisma in the role of Sebastian stole the show.  Last but not least, Ursula’s eels, played by junior Veronica Lee and senior Caroline McCarthy, catered humorously to Ursula’s demands. 

As a school club, The Schreiber Theatre Company is not able to receive funding from the school itself.  Their elaborate costumes and sets aren’t cheap, so the producers have to get creative with fundraising.  They sell advertisements in the showbills and receive generous donations from local businesses.  Additionally, they raise money from ticket and concession sales.  

One thing that the Schreiber Theatre Company did differently this year was the Character Breakfast.  Targeted toward younger students in the Port Washington community, the company hosted a meet and greet the morning before the Sunday show where the actors dressed up in character and took pictures with young fans of The Little Mermaid.  Some of the actors’ parents sold pizza and drinks to support the show.

No matter your skills, there’s room for you to contribute to Schreiber’s incredible biannual shows.  Whether you’re a musician, actor, singer, dancer, leader, aspiring director, or the “I’m just doing it because it looks good for college” type of participant, there are plenty of opportunities for you to be involved on stage or behind the scenes.