By Jesse Bertel

Take a journey under the sea with Ariel, Eric and all your favorite characters from one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Presented by One Stage Family Theater, The Little Mermaid opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3, and runs through Saturday, Aug. 5, at the Elks Theatre, 117 E. Gurley St., Prescott.

Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above, bargaining with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to trade her tail for legs. But the bargain is not what it seems and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends, Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull, and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea.

For this show, One Stage Family Theatre had more than a hundred people come out to audition.

“We have never had that many people audition,” director Shana Lujan said. “I’m assuming it’s a combination of, ‘A’ it’s a really popular show — The Little Mermaid movie just came out and they kind of had Little Mermaid in their mind, and we have just grown as a theater. I guess our reputation is getting out there.”

The performance requires a lot of actors of all ages and with four performances scheduled, there are two different casts.

“There are over 40 people in each cast,” Lujan said. “We have everything from specific sea creatures, so we’ve got our jellyfish and our bass. We have seagulls, King Triton, of course, all the main characters, Flotsam and Jetsam.”

The stage show has all the iconic music by eight-time Academy Award winner, Alan Menken, and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.”

“The songs are always a favorite of everybody,” Lujan said. “A lot of ones that older people will be singing along and younger people because the movie just came out. So, now it’s reintroduced to a whole new generation.”

One of the highlights of the performances are the young cast.

“All of our children performers, especially our two Flounders, are so personable they steal the show every time you see them,” Lujan said. “I think that’s one of the things that they’re just going to love, is we have such talented children as performers. Our youngest performer, I think is 4 years old.”

Set designer Levi Campbell has created multiple levels of ocean and land to transform the stage, but the most interesting set piece is the rock where Ariel is often perched, Lujan explained.<br />

“Ariel stays on the rock in her tail for the first act,” Lujan said. “That rock has to move. It’s become a character in and of itself. It literally looks like the rock that you see when she’s in all the trailers. It’s the rock she’s kind of perched on when she goes up out of the water for the ‘Part of Your World’ scene.”

For tickets and more information, call 928-777-1370 or visit Show times are at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3; 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4; and 1 &amp; 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5.

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