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Cape teen to star in ‘Little Mermaid Jr.’ at BIG ARTS

By Staff | May 27, 2016

Approximately 30 youths will be featured in the upcoming Creative Theater Workshop’s production of “Little Mermaid Jr.” at BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater.

Michelle Hamstra, Creative Theater Workshop founder, said the cast is comprised of about 30 youth ranging in age from 6 to 17. She said the cast is a great combination of new actors and seasoned actors who have already performed professionally.

“It’s a neat combination of many kids coming together,” Hamstra said.

Auditions for the performance were held in January and rehearsals began in February every Sunday afternoon for four hours. Over the course of the months, Hamstra said they have had about 12 rehearsals.

“Even though there are kids in the production, the quality is there to keep young audiences entertained,” she said.

The performances will be held at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 4, and Sunday, June 5, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 10 and at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 11.

Tickets are $20 for adults; $12 for students. Those who bring a copy of this newspaper article to the theater will receive $5 off ticket prices for up to four tickets. Tickets can also be purchased at www.creativetheaterworkshop.com.

“Little Mermaid Jr.” is an hour-and-15-minute long performance full of up beat numbers that are geared towards the younger audience with some funny slap stick humor that will grab the adult’s attention too.

The performance follows the Disney movie with every song, as well as an extra song that will be new to the audience members.

“All the characters and storyline follow the movie really well,” Hamstra said.

The story follows the character Ariel and her longing to leave her ocean home to live in a world on land.

“It was really exciting,” Cape Coral resident Lexi Brady said of being casted to play the role of Ariel.

The Bishop Verot High School student said she has always been told she looks like Ariel with her beautiful red hair, which makes the role that much more exciting. Brady said she sang “Part of this World” during her first audition five years ago – another coincidence of her excitement on getting the role.

Her favorite part of playing Ariel is interacting with the other actors in the show, as well as being apart of the song “Under the Sea” because all the sea creatures are gathered around the boat.

“The costumes are phenomenal,” Brady said, adding “on a normal basis I wouldn’t meet these many people.”

The production features colorful, one-of-a-kind handmade costumes from a Fort Myers seamstress, which were recently delivered providing the cast with the opportunity to practice their roles in costume Tuesday, May 24.

“This is the first time we have had all the costumes made for a production,” Hamstra said. “We are very excited to have everything handmade.”

In addition to the handmade costumes, Hamstra had her wedding gown altered to fit Brady for the wedding scene of “Little Mermaid Jr.”

“I’ve been trying to figure out a play where I can use it,” she said since she will never wear it again.

Creative Theater Workshop began by Hamstra more than 10 years ago. “Little Mermaid” is the fourth production put on at Herb Strauss Theater.

The company began as a college project. Hamstra started her studies at the University of Central Florida before transferring to Florida Gulf Coast University because the theater program was smaller.

“I took an independent class where I had to put on a production. I put on ‘Tom Sawyer’ over 10 years ago. It was children’s theater. I really enjoyed it and it became a passion,” she said. “This is something I do on the side. I volunteer, but pay other people to work. I am a part-time teacher at Challenger Middle School. I teach dance, drama and sign language.”

CTW began at Alliance for the Arts, before moving to Cultural Park Theater, Cape Christian and then to Herb Strauss Theater.