Kevin Rogers has become the Community Theatre of Howell’s go-to guy for all things Disney. “The Little Mermaid” is the third Disney show he’s directed for the group, so it’s somewhat of a shock when he says this:
“I actually hated Disney flicks growing up,” he said. “I thought they were totally hokey.”
Rogers’ attitude began to change in 1989, though, when Disney released “The Little Mermaid,” followed by “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and “The Lion King.”
“From 1989 through 1994, Disney came out with four movies whose storylines really hit me and I loved them,” he said. “I’ve now directed three out of those four. ‘Lion King,’ here I come!”
Indeed, Rogers has already brought “Aladdin” and “Beauty and the Beast” to the CTH stage, and “The Little Mermaid” opens tonight. He said the cast and crew have been working incredible hard, and can’t wait for the audiences to see the fruits of their labor.
“This cast gets along like none I have ever seen in 11 years…and it shows on stage,” Rogers said. “Everyone in this production has worked so hard to bring the show to life, and you’ll be able to tell when you see the finished product.
“This show has a great story line about the repercussions of a love-struck girl’s decisions, how those decisions affect those around her, and a father’s inability to accept the fact that it’s time to let her venture out on her own,” he added. “There is absolutely NO correlation with what I’m going through in my real life with my daughter…I swear…none…”
Rogers is jokingly referring to his theatrical daughter, Tori, who makes CTH a family affair along with Theresia, Kevin’s wife, who is the producer for this production.
Rogers got involved in CTH years ago when Tori got a part in “The Wizard of Oz.” From then on, the family was hooked. Rogers earned a part in “Escanaba in da Moonlight” soon after that.
All told, “The Little Mermaid” is his 27th show with the group. He said some favorite roles include Donkey in “Shrek,” Freddie in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and Col. Nathan Jessup in “A Few Good Men.” This is the fifth show he’s directed for CTH.
“I love the family-type atmosphere in CTH,” said Rogers, who lives in Brighton and works as a Level 3 Server Engineer. “Everyone works together toward a common goal even with the sometimes bumpy roads. I absolutely love watching someone’s face on opening night who’s never been on stage before. You can’t replicate that gleam in their eyes or the smile on their face.”
As for what the audience will see starting tonight, “They can expect to watch a story unfold, not just actors reciting lines,” he said. “You’ll be able to actually feel the character’s happiness, anguish, sorrow and anger. The actors do a stellar job of conveying the message in this show. Exquisite dances, superb singing, beautiful set pieces.”
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.