Meadville Tribune

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March 21, 2013

'The Little Mermaid' on Academy Theatre stage Friday and Saturday

Show is start of regional ballet's fourth season

MEADVILLE — The Oil Region Ballet will begin its fourth season with the production of “The Little Mermaid” on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. at The Academy Theatre in Meadville.

The Oil Region Ballet (ORB) hopes that the “The Little Mermaid” will join the ranks of the ORB’s productions that also include “Cinderella,” “Bremen Town Musicians,” “Le Train Bleu” and “Alice in Wonderland.” ORB’s group of young performers continues to provide local audiences with displays of artistic skill and choreography.

Returning to the 17-member company for its fourth season are dancers Madison Henry, Julie Martin, Morgan Jacoby, Abbey Shull, Hannah Young, Erin Edwards, Erica Perry, Victoria Stachelrodt and Audrianna Montgomery of Franklin; Rachel Leech of Meadville; Shannon Wolff of Cochranton; Dreama Nelson of Erie; and Brendan Glover of Pittsburgh. Joining them for the 2012-2013 season are four new dancers Trevor Runco of Punxsutawney; Lauren Wellman of Centerville; and Caroline Coulter and Lily Dunn of Grove City. In addition to ORB corps de ballet members, Rick Loeffert of Franklin will make a special appearance in “The Little Mermaid” as “Poseidon” and a puppeteer.

Henry is cast in the lead role of “The Little Mermaid.” She is a sophomore at Franklin Area High School and has been dancing for nine years at Studio 22 in Franklin.

In ORB’s performance of “The Little Mermaid,” based on Hans Christian Anderson’s writings, the title character is the youngest of four sisters who longs to see the unknown world above the sea. On her 16th birthday, “The Little Mermaid” is allowed her first trip to the surface. Here, she falls in love with a “Prince of the Land,” portrayed by Glover, and so begins all of her adventures, pulling together people of two very different worlds.

Henry dances this demanding role on pointe for the entire performance, crossing between sea life and the unknown world above, transforming from a mermaid to a human girl right on stage. She finds herself under the power of the evil “Sea Witch,” danced by Jacoby, a Slippery Rock University sophomore, and must fight her way free of the witch’s evil influence.

A brief meet-and-greet with cast members of “The Little Mermaid” will be held on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

The ORB will change venues two weekends later to the Barrow-Civic Theatre in Franklin, where the opening night performance will be April 5 at 7:30 p.m. Encore performances are set for April 6 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

n More information: Visit oilregionballet.org.

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