DAVIDSON – Two groups of youthful thespians pulled out all the stops before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season begins by treating full-house audiences to a couple of creative and energetic productions.
They include “Xanadu,” Community School of Davidson’s high school production, and “Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr.,” which was produced by the Davidson Community Players Connie Company and will continue through Nov. 11 at the Armour Street Theatre.
It might also be said that both productions are a prelude to exciting theatre for 2019.
DCP’s Connie Company will be auditioning young actors Dec. 7-8 at their Actor’s Lab on Main Street for “The Jungle Book,” to be produced Feb. 1-10, 2019, at the Armour Street Theatre.
Community School of Davidson high-schoolers will produce Salman Rushdie’s “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” Feb. 1-4 at the CSD Artspace on Armour Street to be followed by their annual high school musical, “Little Women, the Broadway Musical” March 28-31, 2019.
It is interesting to see that a cast of seasoned youth actors backs up the lead performers in both “The Little Mermaid” and “Xanadu” productions.
In “The Little Mermaid,” the graceful Maegan Bellassai as Ariel heads the cast of such familiar performers as Tess Chason as Sebastian, Olivia Durham as Flounder, Nikki Fellows as Flotsam, Luke Miller as King Triton, Taylor Loyd as Ursula, Olivia Schoch as Jetsam, Max Whittington as Seahorse, Chandler Wolfe as Scuttle, Connor Merson as Prince Eric, Matisse Notte as Chef Louise, Hollister Warren as Grimsby, Destiney Wolfe as Carlotta and Aiden Zanotti as Pilot.
Bellassai’s performance is a treat. She interplays with all the sea urchins with agility, dancing and singing with a host of Mersisters, Princesses, Tentacles and Sailors, including Anne Alexander, Emily Faria, Audrey Hochman, Caroline Mills, Maya Moody, Josie Wert, Nolan Mullins, Carrie Rader, Talan Young, Ava Clayton, Shira Edwards, Ashley Gates, Hannah King, Sebastian Magallanes, Amelia Rizzardi-Leazer, Hannah Stubbs and Amelia Vaughan.
Directed and choreographed by Katie Mullis, the dancing is terrific, from the energetic opening number to the heartwarming finale – under the sea. Lisa Altieri’s vivid costumes are gorgeous! Chandler Wolfe’s flag choreography and makeup designs are to be commended.
“The Little Mermaid” is a fun show for very young audiences, which identifies with the characters and is appreciated for its artistry by adults. Due to its popularity, the Connie Company added another performance at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11.
Although “Xanadu” was only performed last weekend, it’s worth mentioning its unique aspect of combining arts and athletics on the Artspace stage. Under the creative direction of Melissa Ohlman-Roberge, the show was produced in the style of theatre-in-the-round incorporating four ramps to facilitate the gracefully agile rolling entrances by actors on roller-skates and scooters throughout the show – be it on Venice Beach in California or at Mt. Olympus in the clouds.
“Xanadu” is based on a popular, zany show of the ‘80s. Chrissa Weir as Clio (Kira) is surrounded by human and ethereal characters played by CSD and surrounding high school performers, including Lucas DeVore as Sonny Malone, with whom she falls in love.
The rest of the cast included popular young actors who have been seen, not only on Artspace but on other Lake Norman stages as well. They include Lindsay Flewell, Libby Helms, Ivy Montague, Eric Pace, Bridget Delany, John Staskel, Anna Kunz, Libby White, Wilson MacIntyre, Isaac Nicolau, Carly Thompson, Kacey Houlihan, Amanda Foss, Luis Rodriguez, Bella Carter, Jack Tyrell, Katlyn Metzger and Daija Henderson.