The musical will run Thursday, May 12, through Saturday, May 14
PASO ROBLES — Applause Children’s Theater (ACT) is taking audience members under the sea with their productions of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid Jr.”
Disney’s “The Little Mermaid Jr.” features all your favorite songs from the 1989 animated film, as well as a few new songs from the Broadway production.
“We lost everything during COVID. So we started this show with a bank account that was almost gone,” said director and ACT founder Vicky Mullin. “We had planned to close Jan. 1, , and then I just decided, this is my passion, this is what God’s leaning on my heart; I can’t do that. So then I thought, ‘if we do this show, I think we can afford it,’ and it’s turned out to be a fun show. And who doesn’t like ‘Little Mermaid,’ right?”
Mullin used to work for another nonprofit children’s theater and teach school in King City. She also runs a sign language group called The Singing Hands Choir. When she stopped teaching, she decided it was time to start a children’s theater of her own. So with the help of good friends, Mullin created a board and started her nonprofit, ACT, five years ago.
“What makes our theater different than other theaters is that all kids that audition are in the show,” added Mullin. “My philosophy with ACT is really that. Giving kids the most amount of time on the stage, building their confidence, their leadership skills, [teaching them] how to direct, and becoming a family.”
In “The Little Mermaid Jr.,” everyone has ample stage time, and most of the kids have up to five costume changes during the show’s hour-and-a-half run time. Mullin also double-casts as many roles in her shows as possible. This time around, Ariel, Ursula, Sebastian, and Flounder are all double-cast. When the leads aren’t playing their roles, they’re part of the chorus.
The lead role of Ariel will be played by both Madison McCrain and Kayden Jones during the run of the show.
“This is my first big production, but my second time being in a play,” said Madison. “Playing Ariel is a lot of fun because you’re learning a bunch of different choreography and songs to express yourself as Ariel.”
Plenty of the actors in “The Little Mermaid Jr.” are new to theater, but they shine in their roles while being directed by Mullin and her assistant directors, Mariyah and Taleya Putman.
“This is our first play, and we get to do it side by side in every scene,” said twin brothers Callaway and Parker Handley, who play Ursula’s eels. “It’s a lot of fun. We know one of the Ursulas, so it’s kind of being next to a friend. We do her evil bidding; it’s fun.”
Paso Robles Press was invited to watch a rehearsal of the show prior to its opening. The show features 40 talented young actors, gives a new perspective to a film and broadway show that so many love.
“It’s a pretty cool environment. I definitely have seen a lot of people express their true selves, which is really cool,” said Curran Bojorquez, who plays Prince Eric.
Attendees of “The Little Mermaid Jr.” will be able to sign up for summer camp and an acting class in June that will be taught by a director from LA at a discounted price.
“I couldn’t have done this, first of all, without my board,” Mullin said. “We couldn’t have survived COVID without that, and I couldn’t have done it without my landlords. They really just stepped up and helped and offered to work with me to keep our building; that’s Paul and Debbie Viborg. They’re just amazing people who believe in the children in this community and believe in what I do.”
Purchase tickets for “The Little Mermaid Jr.” at Eventbrite.
Adults are $20, with children/senior tickets at $15. There are special discounts for groups, police, fire, foster families, and veterans on Thursday, May 12.
Call Vikky at (805) 610-7187 for information.
- Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m. (Opening Night)
- Friday, May 13 at 7 p.m.
- Saturday, May 14 at 12:30 and 5 p.m.
The show will take place at the George Flamson Middle School auditorium in Paso Robles.