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Sherwood Park high school presents ‘The Little Mermaid’ in ambitious 6-night musical production

Actors at Strathcona Christian Academy Secondary in Sherwood Park are preparing for a sold-out show the opening night of their six-night run of The Little Mermaid

Sixty-one students – 49 actors, including 20 who fill 10 double-cast roles, and 12 tech crew members – have been working on the production since February. 

Their work will debut Sunday at the Sherwood Park Alliance Church for an audience of 800. 

“When I get a moment to sit in the audience and watch – stunning,” Grade 11 student Petra Dueck, who plays one of two Ariels, told CTV News Edmonton on Wednesday.

Ben Slobodan, the Eric to Dueck’s Ariel, added, “I watched The Little Mermaid growing up and just to see it come alive on the stage with me and all my peers in it, it’s awesome.”

Grade 11 students Petra Dueck, left, and Ben Slobodan, right, played Ariel and Eric in Strathcona Christian Academy Secondary’s musical production of ‘The Little Mermaid’ in Sherwood Park May 5-10, 2024. (Nahreman Issa / CTV News Edmonton)

The school’s musical theatre program has only grown since its inception more than 20 years ago, teacher and The Little Mermaid director Samantha Jones says. 

She is assisted by a musical director, choreographer, assistant director, as well as an aesthetics director, Stacey Lavorato, who made most of the show’s 200 costumes with help from volunteers. 

The group began work even before the students, choosing a show in May and getting organized throughout the fall. 

The program’s size is one of the things that allows them to commit to a big ensemble show. 

Plus, after two more serious productions – The Sound of Music in 2022 and Newsies in 2023 – Jones said was eager to bring back more light-hearted fun. 

“When we looked at the students who had signed up, it just fit.” 

Owen Safronovich – who learned to tap dance in order to play Scuttle, the seagull who tries to help Ariel with his self-proclaimed expertise on humans – agrees. 

“He just kind of matches my personality. He’s a fun, goofy gull and I’m a fun, goofy guy.”

The Grade 12 student has been performing for years and is enrolled to study musical theatre at Grant MacEwan, with the dream of one day ending up on Broadway. 

“Being able to get in front of people and express yourself in ways you wouldn’t be able to do normally in everyday life. It’s freeing. You get to open up, show a new side of yourself every time,” he said of his love for acting.  

Owen Safronovich, left, played Scuttle in Strathcona Christian Academy Secondary’s musical production of ‘The Little Mermaid’ May 5-10, 2024, in Sherwood Park. (Nahreman Issa / CTV News Edmonton)

While Dueck and Slobodan echoed the sentiment, they also cherish the time spent with their peers. 

“That’s why it’s so sad when this is going to be over,” said Dueck, who is not yet sure what kind of career she wants to pursue, “because it’s such a sweet moment in my life.”

According to Jones, as of Wednesday, more than 4,000 tickets had been sold for various shows.

The growing number has had little impact on the performers’ nerves, she said. 

“They are such a talented group of students. They are like these little mini professionals. They blow me away every day. They are just so excited.”

Tickets to the roughly two-hour show were still available as of Friday afternoon. Prices for children and seniors are $12 and adults $20. 

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Nahreman Issa 

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