A swimming ‘Little Mermaid’ production on tap for St. Francis

St. Francis Summer Children’s Theater is serving up a giant helping of community in its upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid, JR.”

Ariel (Natalie Hanson) and Prince Eric (Grady Klein), both incoming juniors at St. Francis High School, rehearse in preparation for ISD District 15 Summer Community Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid JR.” Photos courtesy of Glenn Morehouse Olson

Ariel (Natalie Hanson) and Prince Eric (Grady Klein), both incoming juniors at St. Francis High School, rehearse in preparation for ISD District 15 Summer Community Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid JR.” Photos courtesy of Glenn Morehouse Olson

Adapted from Disney’s 2008 Broadway production, the musical opens June 27 and runs for three performances.

“This is a real community event,” said director Glenn Morehouse Olson. “This is a time where older students come together to teach younger students about the joy of musical theater. Everyone pitches in – parents and students build sets, create costumes and work together to build a strong sense of community.”

Sixty-three students round out the cast, ranging in ages from second grade through high school.

The show centers on young mermaid Ariel, who longs to leave her ocean home and live in the world above. But first she has to defy her father King Triton. Along the way, she encounters an evil sea witch and her love interest Prince Eric. And there’s the evil Ursula.

Ariel (Natalie Hanson) and Prince Eric (Grady Klein), both incoming juniors at St. Francis High School, rehearse in preparation for ISD District 15 Summer Community Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid JR.” Photos courtesy of Glenn Morehouse Olson

Ariel (Natalie Hanson) and Prince Eric (Grady Klein), both incoming juniors at St. Francis High School, rehearse in preparation for ISD District 15 Summer Community Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid JR.” Photos courtesy of Glenn Morehouse Olson

Hear such time-honored songs as “Part of Your World,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Under the Sea.”

Morehouse Olson describes the hour-long show as a colorful and fun, family-friendly event. Kids in the audience are encouraged to dress in their favorite Disney character costumes. Their names will be entered in a drawing for a prize.

Frank Moran, now performing in “Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, is choreographer. Mary Ebanks is the music director.

“The true meaning of summer children’s theater is the lifelong friends students make and the strong connections they build within their community,” Morehouse Olson said.

District 15 Community Education presents the District 15 Summer Children’s Theater production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid, JR., Thursday, June 27, Friday, June 28 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 29 at 2 p.m. Adults $8, students/seniors $6. St. Francis High School Carlson Foley Performing Arts Center, 3325 Bridge St. Tickets available at the door and in advance from cast members. For more information, call Community Education at 763-213-1640.

Elyse Kaner is at elyse.kaner@ecm-inc.com

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