Seniors make a splash with ‘The Little Mermaid’


The class of 2018 has had the opportunity to audition for eight shows in their high school career, and those shows have been as varied as they were excellent. From the very first show of the 2014 year, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” the theatre department has seen shows of all kinds and actors of all kinds, and has even had variety in directors.


Ms. Davis, the current MV Theatre Director came onto the scene in the middle of the 2015-2016 season, and while her first show “The Importance of Being Earnest” may have been small, her next season here was anything but.


A change was made when Ms. Davis came to MV, and the theatre department went from doing one play and one musical each year to doing two musicals each year.


“One of the best ways to build a theatre program is to be strategic with both the extracurricular and curricular programs,” said Ms. Davis. “After receiving Mr. Roach’s approval, MV Theatre’s straight-play offerings are available to students taking the theater class, while its fall and spring productions are now both musicals to strengthen student involvement and community engagement.”


“During my second year at MV, we were able to bring back the theater class that had been offered years ago. This class is performance-based, emphasizing theater and acting fundamentals and ending with an evening of one-act performances. Students train in different acting methods and hone their craft – which is very difficult to accomplish during an extra-curricular, after-school rehearsal.”


And so, with the option of straight plays now available in the form of theatre class, MV began its new tradition of two musicals a year.


“Hairspray!,” a musical about a girl overcoming prejudice to dance on tv and fighting racism so that her friends could dance with her, was the first musical of the 2016-17 season. With its upbeat music, rigorous dance numbers, and complex set that included an enormous hollow hairspray can, it was a spectacle of massive proportions. The next show, “Oklahoma!,” was just as lively, with cowboy boots and a love story that tugged at the heartstrings of Fortville theatre goers as it has been tugging at the heartstrings of the world for decades.


This year’s season may be the biggest yet, with “Thoroughly Modern Millie” sparkling and tapping its way through a run without a hitch last November. And now the senior class will see it’s last production, the enchanting and classic Disney tale, “The Little Mermaid.”

5 students with scripts stand on stage.
The cast of The Little Mermaid practices with their scripts.

Cody Smitley started his MV theatre career in a Disney show, “Beauty and the Beast,” will miss the friends he’s made in theatre here.

“I’ll definitely miss the people,” he said, “I’m in love with the cast. The friends I’ve made are what I’ll remember most.”


He believes the doing theatre has “taught me what a good work ethic looks like, and made me a more independent artist and performer.” He plans to continue doing theatre outside of high school, “for the rest of [his] life, on the side of a main career.”


Leah Peters is a senior who also has beginnings in Disney. Her first show ever was “Beauty and the Beast,” and said that, “Theater has done so much for me. It has given me a family and it has made me more confident as a person.”


“My favorite show of all time that I’ve done was ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie,’” Peters said, reflecting on her time in the theatre department. “My favorite memory was just getting closer to all my friends and getting to know the new people in the cast.”


She also said that she is “not 100% sure I’ll do every show that comes my way,” but added that she can see herself doing “one or two musicals in college.”


Lauren Pilkington is another senior who will be bidding farewell to MV theatre with “The Little Mermaid.” Pilkington will be playing Ariel, the little mermaid herself. She first joined MV theatre as an ensemble member of “Oklahoma!” but had previously performed at Bridge Church and Tenwest.


She said that, “‘The Little Mermaid’ is probably my favorite show I’ve ever been in, even though we’re not even done with it.”


That isn’t to say that the memories she has of her other MV show are not wonderful though. “From ‘Oklahoma!’ one of my favorite memories was being on stage and doing the show, and then finally getting to the finale and singing my heart out seeing all of the hard work of the show pay off.”


Cayden Thomas started theatre his sophomore year, and will “continue doing theater in college because it has become very important to me and I will continue to do the thing that I love. I think theatre has shown me that as a person, I can be myself without any judgement and as a performer, I can express who I am through acting.”


His first show was the “Importance of Being Earnest,” where he played a butler, and thinks its funny that he’ll now be ending his high school theatre career as a butler.

“I’ve come full circle,” he laughed.


Despite the ending “The Little Mermaid” signifies for some, for others it is the beginning of something new and exciting, and hopefully something that does for them what it did for the seniors who grew to love it so dearly.