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.”
Sarah Thomas, who’s in the chorus in CTH’s production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” has been with CTH for over 11 years. She has been on stage for 10 shows, most recently appearing in the role of Mrs. Potts in “Beauty and the Beast” and as Honey Rae Futrelle in the comedy “Dearly Beloved.”
Although she loves to be onstage, Sarah also has taken on the “role” as head costumer in several of the Youth Productions including “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown Jr.”, “Honk! Jr.” and “Magic Treehouse Jr.” (Dinosaurs Before Dark).
“Costuming young actors is such a fulfilling experience because you get to interact with them on a whole different level”, Thomas says. She believes that performing on stage is challenging and important work for young people. “Theater kids surprise you, they entertain you and they are very brave. It takes a lot of courage to get up and perform in front of an audience. A lot of lasting life lessons are learned here, but it is also a lot of fun.”
Sarah credits her daughter Becca with sparking her interest in community theatre. Becca was a Munchkin in CTH’s production of “The Wizard of Oz “at the age of 12, back in 2007. “That’s how it usually happens,” Thomas says, “the kids start out in summer theater camp or in a show, and before you know it, the whole family is involved. It’s a great place to feel connected with your community.”
This production of “The Little Mermaid” has a unique blend of adults and kids in the cast.
“It’s great to see so many young actors performing in main roles which they might not get elsewhere,” Thomas says. “Watching young actors on stage encourages the children in the audience to imagine themselves on stage as well. “
The intense effort that these actors and their families put into a show creates strong bonds. It’s no surprise that this “Mermaid” cast has quickly become very close. The directing staff has worked hard to create is a safe and inclusive place where newcomers feel welcome and it shows.
Thomas says that her favorite roles in this production are those of Ariel and Ursula.
“Both of these actresses have tremendous talent and are a real joy to watch on stage – from Ariel’s (Lucy Thomas) sweet voice and beautifully expressive face, to Ursula’s (Alyssa Friday) hilarious ‘vamp’ and mesmerizing stage presence.”
Her favorite “Mermaid” song? Its Ursula’s “I Want the Good Times Back!”
What makes this show even sweeter for Sarah is that her family is literally right beside her! Her daughter Becca is in chorus, as well, and her husband Jeff is co-tech directing.
When asked what she likes best about being involved with community theater, Thomas says, “We watch each other grow, we watch each other’s kids grow and there is a lot of joy here.”
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.