Stage & Screen Studios Takes Audience Under The Sea

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By Maya Pottiger

With its production of “The Little Mermaid,” Stage & Screen Studios wants the audience to become part of Ariel’s world.

Though it’s a live theater production, the performance has multiple aspects including motion picture backdrops and green screen segments.

Audiences can expect to see Ariel pop out of the water and perch on a rock during the “Part Of Your World” reprise.

“What we do is a very immersive experience; it’s not just doing a play,” said Stage & Screen Studios co-founder Pete Garvey.

In addition to being immersive for the audience, the experience provides a lot of new opportunities for actors in the show.

“Now you can put on your resume that not only have you done live acting stage performances, but you’ve also done work on a screen, which definitely sets them apart from the other talent in the area,” said Jen Degnan, a producer for this show.

Since opening in December 2017, Stage & Screen Studios has been growing. Roughly 50 kids auditioned for this show, so the company introduced a new idea of having two full casts. The Flotsam cast and Jetsam cast are made up of 48 cast and crew members, and each group has a full weekend of performances.

“It creates an opportunity for an understudy without having to have that designation of an understudy, which oftentimes leads to an actor not being able to play that part,” Degnan said.

Garvey has noticed many benefits to having a full double casting.

“There’s a camaraderie that has developed between the casts. They help each other out. They work together,” Garvey said. “There’s some friendly competition going on as well. It’s all very beneficial and amazing to see the energy each cast brings to the stage here supported by one another.”

The Jetsam cast features Tommy Engstrom from Jones Elementary as Prince Eric, and the Flotsam cast features Annabelle Wellschlager from Severna Park Middle School as Ariel.

Though the script is verbatim from the Disney movie, the show features the song “She’s In Love,” which was written for the Broadway version of the story. This has proven to be a cast favorite, as actors repeatedly stay late after rehearsals to rehearse the song, Garvey said.

“This is a journey that carries not just the cast but the audience through the story,” Garvey said. “That’s the most endearing quality of these productions is the audience is going through the story, they’re not just watching.”

There will be eight performances of the 60-minute musical across two weekends. The Flotsam cast will perform four shows from May 3-5, and the Jetsam cast will perform four shows from May 10-12. The shows both weekends are at 7:00pm on Friday and Saturday, and at 2:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. Purchase tickets online by visiting www.stagescreenstudios.com.

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