Oh, Buoy!

The Little Mermaid musical opens with help from all fine arts departments


Scatterlight Photos/Priscilla Shontz

Junior Tyler Warnie, who plays the lead role of Ariel, sings with her newfound voice. After working hard on The Little Mermaid musical, theatre is ready to show off their work.

Little Mermaid’s Sebastian says it best, “The human world-it’s a mess; Life under the sea-Is better than anything they got up there.” Students and the community alike will be able to experience this life under the sea with the upcoming musical The Little Mermaid.

“People should see The Little Mermaid because it is a classic animated tale by Disney way back in the ’80s,” choir director Daryle Freeman said. “It is a great musical with a huge cast. There will be great singing, acting, dancing, and music from all areas of our fine arts program.”

The musical is the only show put on each year where all the fine arts departments come together to create a production. 

“It’s been great having so many departments involved. It gives us time to get to know each other and work as a team,” Freeman said. “Klein Oak is lucky to have such master teachers in the fine arts programs who share their craft every single day.”

Each fine arts department brings unique skills to the table, helping the musical come to life. 

“I am all about collaborating,” dance director Fayla Curry said. “I love working with my fellow artists in the performing and visual arts and do it every year outside of the school musical experience.  I’d love to work in conjunction with various other departments (Let’s go science, math, social studies, languages, and English! We are ready when you are!) to learn more about their fields as well as to provide amazing opportunities for our students to enlighten and deepen their high school experiences.”

The collaboration of the departments has fostered new social relationships between groups who don’t generally interact. In addition, it opens up new learning opportunities for students and greater school spirit.

“A musical is a collaboration of all the arts,” theatre director Darchell Chesser said. “By working with other departments, you are able to learn from each other’s strengths which makes the musical that much more successful. It also trains students to be stronger in another area so that they can be more successful in Theatre, Music, Dance, or Art.”

In addition to the fine arts departments, for the first year, cosmetology will collaborate with the costume crew and help with the intricate hairstyles of some characters. 

“The students are excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with other departments to express creativity, and it exposes them to real-life scenarios for working in the field of cosmetology,” cosmetology teacher Alicia Thomas said.

For some students, the musical is their first encounter with theatre and the process of putting on a production.

“This is my first year taking theatre classes, and I would not have taken them if it wasn’t for my involvement in Once Upon a Mattress last year,” junior ensemble member Lillian Tritch said,  “That show let me see aspects of theatre that I have never seen before and showed me how much I enjoyed not only the class but the people.”

Each department contains different opportunities, experiences, and communities that students are able to see when they are involved with the musical. 

“Choir and theatre give two totally different experiences,” Tritch said. “In choir, you do everything as a group. It’s not a lot of individual work. On the other hand, in theatre, you are by yourself for a big part of it. I would say they are very different, but they both have helped me improve in the other. Being in theatre has made me better at choir, and vice versa.”

Each department has been hard at work preparing for opening night. With obstacles faced, students have kept a positive attitude as they anticipate upcoming events. 

“A challenge in the musical has definitely been the music and the amount of it,” senior orchestra member Bailey Tran said. “There’s a lot of music, and it’s not easy, but it’s not bad. The music we are playing really shows what high school players are capable of playing. I’m looking forward to playing along with the cast members, and I’m excited to see the end product.”

 The Little Mermaid opens on tonight and continues showing in the KO Auditorium on Jan. 28 and 30 and Feb. 3 and 4. Tickets are on sale now at kleinoaktheatre.ludus

“This is a tough musical,” Chesser said. “I think if you ask students today, after three long months of hard work, they would probably say they are tired and want to sleep, but in a few short weeks, when they get an audience and have time to rest, they will look back on this process as one that taught them so much, strengthened their skills, and created lifelong friendships.”