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Lehi High Drama dazzles audiences with The Little Mermaid



Upon entering the auditorium, attendees of Lehi High School’s production of “The Little Mermaid” are struck by the remarkable detail of the sets sprawling across the stage. Painted ocean scenes, an enormous ship, and a throne room excite the audience for what’s to come. 

The show opens with Ariel’s six giddy and goofy sisters welcoming the audience. The focus then shifts to the ship where Prince Eric, played by Gideon Selph, and his crew begin setting the stage for the story.

The primary difference between the beloved animated film to the musical is simply added songs, which allows for more characters to have a moment in the spotlight, and gives more opportunities for romance, comedy and villainy. 

The music was well-rehearsed, the choreography was lively, the sets were stunning, and the costumes were vibrant and beautifully crafted. To add some extra flair and accentuate the illusion of being “Under the Sea,” most of the performers acting as sea creatures wore roller skates, rollerblades or heelys to keep their movements smooth.

Every member of the cast performed their hearts out, but there were a few standout performers, Including Abi Archer as Ariel, Eli Archer as Ursula. Others who stole the show were Cole Dunford and Halle Humphreys as Flotsam and Jetsam, Riley Anderson as Sebastian, Macie Openshaw as Scuttle, and Xander Noyes as Chef Louis. 

The Archer sisters have stunning voices, both offering unique qualities, with Abi as the soprano ingenue and Eli as the alto villainess. Dunford and Humphreys as Ursula’s henchmen were creepy and perfectly set each scene with the sea witch, working especially well as a trio in “Sweet Child.”

Anderson’s performance as Sebastian stood out due to her physicality and singing voice. We know from previous performances that she has a beautiful voice, but taking on a singing part written for a man’s register was really something else. Anderson took on “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl” like they were second nature. She jumped from low lows to high highs depending on the song, tailoring the part to her own voice…(And don’t worry, they did not make her do a Jamaican accent.)

Although a relatively minor part, Openshaw stole the show every time she came on stage as Scuttle. “Positoovity” was a hysterical musical number, and the perfect opportunity to show off Openshaw’s character work as the seabird. Her physical humor and use of her voice to make the character the perfect balance of the Scuttle we know and love and her own spin on the character. 


Finally, Noyes as Chef Louis only lasted for two scenes but had the whole audience in stitches. In “Les Poissons,” the comedy of a psychotic Frenchman ripping fish apart to serve them to a woman who is secretly a mermaid is next-level, and Noyes did a perfect job, especially with Anderson as Sebastian alongside him.

No show is complete without its creative team, and this team is led by Mindy Nelsen as director.

“While it might seem like a cute Disney movie or a children’s film, for me, the story and its meaning go so much deeper. It’s more than a girl and boy believing that the grass is always greener on the other side or a parent trying to control their child. There is something about the magic and hope of this show that defies a world determined to share humor through sarcasm and is focused on want instead of the other,” Nelsen shared in her Director’s Note. “I hope as our students share this story, we all learn to not fear change and growth and pursue our journey with happiness and kindness.”

Others on her talented creative team are Cheryl Allgaier and Savannah Beck as choreographers, Katie Allen as music director, and Randy Blackburn as the scenic designer, technical director and acting coach.

“Their work with the students has elevated this production beyond a normal high school play. I think this is the perfect final piece for our seniors as they go into the world and find their place within it and contributions to it,” said Nelsen. 

The classic Disney fairytale is perfect for the whole family and is sure to delight anyone in attendance. Remaining performances are on April 23 and 25-27 at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on April 27. Visit the Lehi High School page for tickets.

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