This weekend, after months of rehearsals, Brookwood students and their fellow cast members will dive deep into the world of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid.” The cast and crew includes a wide age range of the Brookwood community, spanning Junior Kindergarteners through seniors, to current faculty and staff members.
The annual Brookwood All-School Musical is a tradition that began in the 1990s. David Grooms, the Upper School Director, also serves as the play’s producer and Drama Coordinator. “We have been doing a school-wide musical for the past twenty-five years,” Grooms said. “Many students will perform in the musical for eight, 10 or as many as 14 years. Thus, it is a huge part of their school experience. This helps to demonstrate the importance of the contribution of all members of the ensemble to the process of telling the particular story each year.”
This will be the first time “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” has been performed by the school’s talented group of actors and actresses. “Brookwood’s production of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” is going to showcase a unique combination of the joy and magic of a Disney musical and the wonderful talent and comradery that we prize so highly in the Brookwood community,” commented director Jimmy Kontos. Past school-wide productions have included “Peter Pan,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and “Anything Goes.”
The audience will follow along on a journey that transcends land and sea, as they witness Ariel finding her voice in the midst of life-changing decisions and beloved musical numbers.
A live orchestra comprised of regional musicians will perform in the pit for the second time in the school play’s history. The music will be accompanied by colorful, elaborate sets. “The production includes irresistible songs like ‘Under the Sea,’ ‘Kiss the Girl’ and ‘Part of Your World,’” Grooms explained. “Since part of the production happens under the sea, there is great opportunity for color and creativity in the set.”
This year’s lead is eighth-grader Ellie Godwin, playing Ariel. It will be her third time participating in a Brookwood production and her first in a lead role. “The most exciting thing about playing Ariel to me is how much I can relate to her character and her ambition to dream and always want more,” Godwin shared. “Ever since I was a little kid, Ariel has been my favorite princess, and being able to play this role is just so exciting to me.”
Junior Jackson Clendenin, performing in his seventh Brookwood production, will play the role of Prince Eric. “I began doing the play in fourth grade, and it is a tradition now,” Clendenin stated. “I greatly enjoy spending time with people I otherwise would not have been able to if I were not in the play, as well as seeing everything come together to make a great show.”
The cast also includes two seasoned all-school musical participants, Elise McPherson and Ben Burrus. Elise, a sophomore in her eleventh year participating, will take on the role of Sebastian, and she “cannot wait to see everyone shine on opening night and see the wonder in the audience members’ eyes that only comes from live theater.” A second grader in his fourth year participating, Ben looks forward to playing Flounder because he’s “a funny character like me.” He went on to say, “the play is so much fun because I get to see all of my friends besides the ones that are in Lower School. I like how we all work together to put on a great show.”
This year’s production will include nearly 90 students, serving as a hallmark event of the school bringing together students from every grade level. According to Kontos, “the audience can expect to experience a musical we all know and love told in a new and exciting fashion by our talented students and wonderful volunteers.”
You won’t want to be one of the “poor, unfortunate souls” to miss out on this show!
Brookwood’s production of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” will run Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m. at the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium. Reserved and general admission tickets are available online through Feb. 7 at www.brookwoodschool.org or at the door just prior to the performances.
Submitted photo by Dr. Douglas C. McPherson