Meet the “Little Mermaid” cast: Community Theatre of Howell is a true family affair for dancer Lottie Moorehouse

Lottie Moorehouse of Gregory is a featured dancer in the Community Theatre of Howell's production of Disney's "The Little Mermaid." Photo by Susan Gronow.

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From now until opening night on Nov. 9, the Livingston Post will be profiling cast members of the Community Theatre of Howell’s production of “The Little Mermaid.”

There are a lot of people who say that the theater is their life.

For Lottie Moorehouse, it’s literally true. She wouldn’t be here today were it not for the Community Theatre of Howell.

“My mom and dad met in a CTH show, so I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for this group,” said Lottie, a 14-year-old Fowlerville High School freshman who appears as a featured dancer in the current production of “The Little Mermaid,” her fourth CTH show. “I’m a true CTH baby. Because of how much the theater means to them, I know it’s extra special for them to be able to see me in shows.”

CTH is a family affair for scores of people involved with the theater group – with moms, dads and kids all involved in shows – but Lottie and her family take it up a few notches. Consider:

  • Her mom and dad, Kathy and Buddy, met back in 1994 when they were in CTH’s “Kiss Me, Kate” together. They married in 1995, and the next year, they were in another show together, as lovebirds Nathan Detroit and Adelaide in CTH’s “Guys and Dolls.”
  • Lottie’s older sister and brother, Chelsie and Cameron, were both in several CTH shows as kids. The only one in her family who hasn’t been in a show yet is sister Amelia, 21, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
  • Her aunt, Kim Moorehouse, has directed and appeared in several CTH shows, and her cousin, Adam Hickey, was also in numerous productions.
  • Her other cousin, Leslie Huntley, has directed and appeared in several shows, and actually got married on the CTH stage back in 2009 (the only REAL wedding ever to take place on the stage).
  • And biggest of all, Lottie’s grandmother, Vera Cunningham, is considered the Community Theatre of Howell’s “grande dame.” Before moving to Florida a couple years ago, Cunningham directed 14 CTH shows and appeared in numerous others. Last year, Cunningham was presented with the Community Theatre Association of Michigan’s (CTAM) Dorothy Arnett Volunteer Service Award – the group’s highest volunteer award. To honor Cunningham, CTH last year named its library of scripts and other theatrical materials “The Cunningham Library.”

Lottie, who lives in Gregory with her family, said it will always be a special memory that her first show with CTH was her grandmother’s last show; Vera was the consulting director for the 2015 production of “Mary Poppins,” while Lottie was a featured dancer in the show.

Vera Cunningham with her granddaughter, Lottie Moorehouse, after receiving the CTAM Dorothy Arnett Volunteer Service Award during CTH’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

“Getting to do my first CTH show with my grandma was such a memorable experience that I’ll never forget,” Lottie said. “She’s definitely one of the main reasons CTH holds such a special place in my heart. My grandma has always been my biggest fan, and she was such a huge part of this group. I grew up with my whole family being involved in theater and CTH, and that’s why I’ve fallen in love with it, too.”

Since moving to Florida, Grandma Vera has made the trip back to Michigan every year to see Lottie on stage, and she’ll be coming up this month to catch her in “The Little Mermaid,” as well.

Lottie enjoys everything about being in theater, but it’s dancing she loves most of all. She’s been taking lessons at Maria’s School of Dance in Fowlerville since the age of 3, and has been on their competitive Dance Express team for the past four years. This year, she’s also on the Fowlerville High School Dance Team.

On the CTH stage, she’s been a featured dancer in the group’s last four fall musicals, “Mary Poppins,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and now “The Little Mermaid.”

“Dancing has been such a big part of my life for so long, so getting to be a featured dancer is so special to me because I get to do the things I love most – acting, singing and dancing – all combined,” she said.

In addition to her CTH shows and dance performances and competitions, Lottie logged a lot of stage time at Light of the World Academy in Pinckney, where she attended school from preschool through eighth grade.

Lottie Moorehouse in “The Little Mermaid.”

“I did a lot of summer theater camps and school productions, and that’s really where my love of theater started,” she said. “And then it really started to grow once I became involved with CTH.”

As for the current production, Lottie has loved every minute of the “Little Mermaid” experience, and can’t wait for the audiences to see what they’ve created.

“This show is such a crowd-pleaser because it’s filled with heartfelt moments but also humorous moments,” she said. “It’s going to have people crying one moment and laughing the next. I’ve enjoyed getting to help portray such an amazing story up on stage and I can’t wait for people to see it.

“The people that I’ve gotten to work with throughout this show, the production staff and cast, have made it such a fun and exciting show that I think is going to be very memorable for everyone,” she added.

And just like her family did more than two decades ago, Lottie has found a second home at CTH.

“I love the friendships I’ve made here and I just think theater people have such a positive energy about them that makes it impossible to not be happy around them,” she said. “We all really are a family and this is such a supportive place that will allow you to break out of your shell and feel accepted.”

The Community Theatre of Howell is presenting “The Little Mermaid” at the Howell High School Freshman Campus, 1400 W. Grand River Ave., Howell. Shows are Nov. 9-11 and 16-18, with showtimes at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday each weekend.

Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, available at Finding Roots in Howell, Maria’s School of Dance in Fowlerville, Big Acre in Brighton, and Ed Bock Feed and Seed in Pinckney. Tickets are also available by calling 517-545-1290, or online at cththeatre.org. You can buy tickets by clicking here.

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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.