The Little Mermaid

 Cast members prepare to perform “The Little Mermaid,” which opens July 11.


Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid,” starring Halle Bailey, is still more than a year away. If you cannot wait that long, catch ArtBarn’s adaptation of the classic “tail” on stage beginning July 11. Directed by Jennifer Dobbins, the play features a cast of 31, playing 57 characters and wearing 64 costumes.

Every garment was designed by OHS teacher Laurelai Kreuzer, and many are handmade by her as well. 

“We have everything from billowy sailor shirts to little black maids’ dresses to all the sea critters,” Kreuzer said. “At present, I have a blowfish in my kitchen sink.”

As tech week drew nearer, Kreuzer got up to sew early in the morning and continued late into the night, all the while teaching summer school in between. Believe it or not, this is her first time costuming for the stage.

“I’ve been a seamstress all my life,” she said, but “I have, up until this point, just made costumes for my dachshunds.”

She was recruited to lend her talents to the production after working at the concession booth last summer.

A fellow newcomer to the ArtBarn is the director herself. A resident of Fargo, N.D., Dobbins is AirBnBing it in Osceola for the summer, thanks to the outreach of interim executive director Gabrielle Ford, who plays Ursula. The two met in Superior, where Dobbins directed Ford while the latter was in college. Dobbins was initially uncertain about the prospect of relocating for the summer, but quickly fell in love with Osceola and all the art the area has to offer.

“Why I love community theatre, is the sense of community,” Dobbins said. “My hope is that the show brings out more and more community members, and that more high schoolers and more community members are able to audition because it’s such a cool space.”

Brecken Styles, who plays Ariel, would certainly agree. She credits ArtBarn for igniting her passion for the performing arts.

“My first show ever, I did at the ArtBarn in 2009. I was five,” Styles said. “The ArtBarn really kicked off my love for theatre, and made me into the person that I am today”

Aaron Holt, who plays Sebastian, sums up why the community should come out to see this show.

“It’s a story about a girl who wants to go beyond what is expected and experience a whole new world, not to quote ‘Aladdin’,” Holt said, “and ultimately just push through the barriers of what is even possible to do.”

Performances of “The Little Mermaid” will be held on July 11, 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 7 p.m. and July 14 at 2 p.m.

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