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Theatre troupe brings ‘A whole new world’

Ashley Simonson and Brett Jungmann play Flotsam and Jetsam in the Great River Road Theatre’s staging of “The Little Mermaid.” First curtain goes up July 8. (Herald photo by Sarah Young)1 / 2
Cast and crew members of the Great River Road Theatre’s rendition of “The Little Mermaid” have been rehearsing diligently for the upcoming shows, set to begin July 8 at Public Square Park in Prescott. Judy Johnson of River Falls (front, far right) is directing. (Herald photo by Sarah Young)2 / 2

PRESCOTT -- The Great River Road Theatre is promising a show that will knock your socks off for its 2016 summer production.

Attendees can look forward to scores of musical numbers, dancing and creative choreography in “The Little Mermaid,” to be staged at Public Square Park in Prescott.

Performances are set for 7 p.m. July 8-9 and July 14-16, and 1 p.m. July 10 and July 17.

Director Judy Johnson, of River Falls, is positive the show will be a crowd pleaser.

“There is so much singing and dancing,” Johnson said. “The actors, characters, they’re just all so good.”

The theatre troupe, in its 24th year, tries to switch back-and-forth between productions geared toward children and those aimed at adults.

“Little kids love to be in the plays,” Johnson said. “A lot of musicals we’ve been doing have been geared toward older people. This is a play little kids can identify with.”

The actors will tell the story of Ariel, a mermaid princess who makes a deal with Ursula the sea witch, so she can meet her Prince Charming on land. Many youngsters have become familiar with the characters of Flounder the fish, Sebastian the crab, Scuttle the seagull and King Triton in the Disney movie.

Cast and crew members from River Falls, Ellsworth, Prescott and surrounding communities have been assembling two to three nights a week since May to rehearse.

Christina Kowalcyk will play the lead role of Ariel. Other main characters include: RaeAnn Jungmann playing Sebastian; Jim Scheide as King Triton; Hailey Kowalchyk as Flounder; Jim Dalluhn as Chef Louie; Thaddeus Kosnopfal as Prince Eric; Cedric Kosnopfal as Scuttle; Lucas Flom as Grimsby; and Grace Groh and Madeline Johnson as mermaids.

A total of 40 people has worked to put the production together, 18 of which are children playing fish and sea creatures. Prescott resident Courtney Lamb is in charge of choreography. Prescott graduate Hannah Hillman, who is studying directing and community theatre in California, has been Johnson’s assistant.

“All the work that went into fixing this up, it’s definitely worth it,” Johnson said.

The pit orchestra and pianist will accompany the singers in 21 musical numbers. All of the actors are responsible for developing their own costumes.

“The kids decided which sea creatures they want to be,” Johnson said. “I encourage anybody who like theatre or would like to get involved, please do. People who never thought they’d be in theatre are. I really think it brings people together. People can really see each other in a new light.”

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6-17, and $25 for a family pass (two adults plus children). Kids age 5 and younger are free.

For more information, email greatriverroadtheatre@gmail.com, visit “Great River Road Theatre” on Facebook or visit www.greatriverroadtheatre.org.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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