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Stage Door Productions presents ‘The Little Mermaid Jr.’

Stage Door Productions will present its summer children’s musical ”Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.”

It will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with an additional matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday. All shows will be at the Fort Dodge Middle School, 800 N. 32nd St.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children age 5 and up. They can be purchased at Hy-Vee, 115 S. 29th St., and Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association, 921 Central Ave.

This show will once again be directed by the team of Kim Keller (stage), Megan Cassady (music), and Becky Armentrout-Harfst (choreography).

”Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.” was adapted from Disney’s Broadway production and the motion picture. Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories, it is an enchanting look at the sacrifices people make for love and acceptance.

Ariel’s story is a familiar one. Beautiful young Ariel (Hallie Ehn) longs to leave her ocean home in a magical underwater kingdom and longs to live in the world above. On her way she defies her father, King Triton (KeVon Edwards) and makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula (Melaney Butrick), and tries to convince Prince Eric (Kane Freeman) that she’s the girl whose enchanting voice he has been seeking.

The show flows seamlessly between land and sea. With familiar characters such as Flounder (Jillian Lehman), Flotsam and Jetsam (Carson Kahler and Manuela Rodriguez), Grimsby (Bo Tracy), Chef Louis (Owen Hamlow) and more, the animated move comes to life on stage.

The summer show for Stage Door Productions has traditionally been a children’s show performed by children and suitable for families. While Stage Door initially performed two different summer shows, the last two years have put children from kindergarten to 12th grade together in one show. This has led to leadership from the teenagers as they teach the younger children the ways of theater, even as they continue to grow themselves.

“One great advantage of this show is that there are so many feature parts,” said Keller. “We are able to give a lot of kids a moment to really shine. My favorite part of working with Stage Door kids is that I see kids from many different school districts come together to really support each other. These kids are positive and hard working, and it’s a blessing to see them three nights a week.”

Since 2013, Stage Door Productions has offered youth theater opportunities during the summer. In addition to the Camp Creamery theater camp that recently concluded with the performance of ”The Legend of Blackbeard’s Gold,” Stage Door also presents a summer children’s musical each year. Stage Door believes that the arts provide important cognitive, emotional and social benefits to youth and want to increase availability and accessibility.

“This is my third year being the music director for Stage Door summer production,” said Cassady. “My favorite thing has been seeing the youth grow in a mere two months of rehearsal. At the auditions, there are many kids beyond scared to try out. No eye contact, soft spoken, and very nervous. Fast forward two months and the kids that were the most nervous are the ones that are putting their all into every song they sing. The transformation is so fun to see. That’s what music does — it gives kids confidence in a deep and meaningful way.”

Stage Door has been lucky to find a great rehearsal location in First United Methodist Church and is also grateful to have parents assisting with monitoring children at rehearsal and assisting with some of the costumes for the show. Stage Door will be using scenic projections from Broadway Media Distribution to heighten the production value of the show for the first time this summer. The costumes are being rented from Bishop O’Gorman school in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

In addition to the summer shows and theater camp opportunities that Stage Door provides to the youth in Fort Dodge and the surrounding communities, Stage Door also has a winter adult musical production that is currently in the planning stages. Typically held at the end of January or beginning of February, this is a small cast show featuring 12 or fewer actors and a small pit band. Stage Door puts on a cabaret in which adults, children, and teens regularly perform.