LaVille Jr-Sr High School

Clussman Talk Spring Musical

By Scot Shearer | Mar. 14, 2023 2:30 PM

LAKEVILLE, IN. - The LaVille Drama Department presented "The Little Mermaid" recently. A total of three shows depicted the journey of a young mermaid who is willing to give up her life in the sea as a mermaid to gain a human soul. With a large cast and crew, director Stephanie Clussman was pleased with the performances and patron attendance. "It went wonderfully!" exclaimed Clussman. "We had over 700 people in attendance over the three shows with Friday night being the largest crowd!" According to Clussman, the story of this musical is very similar to the classic Disney movie. Ariel, played by Makayla Malloy, is a mermaid who wants to be with the humans especially after she rescues the handsome Prince Eric (Max Martin) from drowning. She is taken to Ursula (Addison Cox) and trades her voice for a pair of legs. She then tries her best to get the prince to kiss her within the three day deadline. She is helped by her friends Sebastian the crab (Kalib Belknap), Scuttle the seagull (Sam Lillie) and Flounder (Noah Keen). Despite some setbacks along the way, Ariel does achieve her dream and becomes part of the human world with the blessing of her father, King Triton (Luke Mueller)."The cast and crew did a wonderful job and I am so proud of them," explained Clussman. "They put a ton of time and effort into this production and it really paid off! I had students helping out in so many ways on this show. We had a student choreographer as well as two students draw the animations used in a few magical moments of the production. I am proud of every single student who worked on this show and have had such a great time working with them. "The kids are walking on sunshine! They have had so much positive feedback from the family, peers, teachers, and community," continued Clussman. "The show was very well received and they are thrilled to have been a part of it. They were all energetic and smiling on Saturday night after we finished the last show." This is the 10th year of production since Clussman took over the LaVille Drama Club and the veteran director continues to be impressed with the students and community support."This has been one of my favorite productions to work on and direct," said Clussman. "The students have been absolutely amazing to work with and I'm so thankful to their families for allowing me to borrow them for the last few months. We made something that every single student can be truly proud of and made some memories that will last a lifetime! I'm so thankful to be allowed to be their director and cannot wait for the next show!"Clussman emphasised teamwork and appreciated the input from each student."All of the students in this production bring unique gifts and talents to share with our audience," explained Clussman. "Makayla Malloy is a very gifted singer and is great at being an animated character, perfect for the role of Ariel. Addison Cox, has a powerful voice that fits wonderfully with Ursula's low alto part. Eden McCormick and Allie Bringham are great at physicality which is highlighted as they slither across the stage as the electric eels. Other students are great at playing funny character parts or using accents like Scuttle and Sebastian. Creating student theater is always a group effort and it's amazing to see the students step and contribute in so many different ways." There were also assistants and other roles that helped make a successful production."We had an amazing team of people who made this show possible. Thanks to Cameron Banks and Joy Smith for music direction, Clint Watts for set construction, Brandon Shafer for tech direction and alumni Lauren Harville and Jordan Keen for assistant directing. This show would not have been possible if it were not for the time and dedication of these amazing people! This extends beyond just those visible on the stage as well. Dane Jordan has been our student tech manager for the past two years. He works for weeks before the show, programming all the light cues and working with the rest of the tech team to make sure everything is ready for the lights and sound. We also had students in the roles of stage manager, assistant stage manager, costume manager, and props manager. There is a lot to be done on a huge production like this and having the students take on extra responsibilities is essential and helps them learn essential skills along the way." With over 40 students involved in the production of 'The Little Mermaid', it wasn't the largest cast ever but a good sized group. Clussman says, "We were able to add to our numbers a bit this year by inviting three 6th grade students to join our production from the elementary! This was a great first musical and a lot of our cast members were in a production for the first time!" The process to select a show takes a bit of time and getting feedback."To select a show I work with our drama club officers to gather feedback from the drama club about which shows they would be interested in doing," Clussman concluded. "I also ask the team of directors as well as look into many items such as cost, feasibility, casting, music difficulty etc. After all the pros and cons have been weighed for a number of shows and student and director input has been given, I make a final selection. Some other shows that were considered this year were Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Anastasia, and Footloose. There is no way of knowing what we will do next year but I have several student groups pushing for shows like Singin' in the Rain and Honk! No matter what show we choose, I'm sure it will be a great one!"

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