By Melody Vallieu
VANDALIA — School on the Rock Home School Co-op has a “tail” to tell this week when students present “Little Mermaid Jr.”
The production will be staged at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and again at 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday, and returns to The Hangar at First Baptist Church, 615 S. Dixie Drive, Vandalia. Doors open one half hour prior to show time. Shows have completely sold out, except for the 6 p.m. Saturday show that was added to serve more people after all other production dates sold out in pre-sale. Tickets for the 6 p.m. Saturday show are $8 pre-sale, $10 at the door; and children 2 and under are admitted free if sitting on a parent’s lap.
Amy Fraley, director of the “Little Mermaid Jr.,” said the production is not only a musical to share with the community, but an important fundraiser for the annual SOTR high school trip to New York City. Fraley said a portion of each ticket sale returns back to the students to help fund their trip, so if you know a student in the production, please purchase your tickets directly from them. All other ticket inquiries can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fraley said she chose “Little Mermaid Jr.” this year because it is a well-known story, and an engaging, high-energy show that is very child and family friendly. She said the junior version also is a shorter show than the Broadway version, so those with little ones don’t have to worry about them getting as fidgety.
First-time producer is Amy Early, who has been the previous music director.
“She has really stepped out of the area of her passion (music) as we didn’t have anyone to produce. She has done a fabulous job,” Fraley said. “She is one of those rare and special people that can be extremely creative and then switch over to ultra-organized the next minute.”
Fraley said it is bittersweet to watch the kids dance this year because after 28 years of home schooling, Ruth Scott, choreographer, is graduating her final senior class. She has choreographed and helped direct musicals for SOTR for 10 years.
“She gave me the encouragement and guidance to take over as director five years ago, and she will be terribly missed!” Fraley said.
In her role as producer, Fraley said it is one of the highlights of her year to work on the production.
“It’s truly a joy to work with this amazing group of young people (ages range from seventh through 12th grade). Sometimes I think these kids don’t realize the talent and potential they have,” Fraley said. “I’m always tickled to sit back and watch them shine on the stage. They do a lot of hard work at rehearsal in the months before the show, but we also spend a good amount of time laughing and having fun.”
Fraley said she invites the community to come out and see what the show — and the students have to offer.
“If you love a good romance, mixed with zany characters that will keep you laughing, and fun music that you can’t help sing along to, bring your family and join us for School on the Rock’s performance of Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid Jr.’ Dive on in! Life is the bubbles, under the sea!” Fraley said.
“They are amazing kids … and they give their best to put on a fabulous show,” Fraley said.