Theatre Department prepares for “The Little Mermaid”

Even though Chapman High School’s production of “The Little Mermaid” won’t premiere until February, preparations are already underway for opening night. Rehearsals started last week, and according to Theatre Director Carrie Roberts, this year’s talented cast is ready to make a splash.

 “The cast members are perfect for their roles,” Roberts said. “We have a tremendous amount of talent in our cast, and I think this is going to be a fabulous moment for Sara Bryant and Brandon Nunez, who are seniors. I’m so excited for them to have their swan song.”

Bryant and Nunez will be starring as Ariel and Prince Eric, respectively. 

Bryant is not new to the spotlight, having been a member of Chapman theater since eighth grade. She starred as Lina Lamont in the spring production of “Singin’ in the Rain” and the Dragon in the 2020 production of “Shrek,” and she is thrilled to be a star this year as well.

“I am beyond excited,” Bryant said. “I cannot wait to start the process of building everything and it’s just really cool to see everything fall in place.” 

Roberts said that Bryant’s singing abilities are what make her perfect for the role.

“Ariel’s supposed to have the most beautiful voice in the world that the prince follows,” Roberts said. “Sara has an absolutely beautiful voice, (and) she has a lot of training.”

Nunez has participated in theater since his freshman year and performed in Chapman’s production of “Anything Goes.” According to Roberts, he also possesses incredible vocal talent and a little extra something that makes him an amazing Prince Eric. 

“Brandon has a beautiful voice, and he’s got that princely charm,” Roberts said.

Nunez himself is excited to have this role and is embracing the honor of playing the chivalrous prince.

I am extremely excited to be able to play Prince Eric,” Nunez said. “He is such a genuine and kind character, and being able to portray him is an honor.”

Sophomore Camren Klepper, who will be playing the part of Ursula, has been a part of Chapman Theater since sixth grade and starred as Truvy in “Steel Magnolias.” This is her first major role and she’s very excited to make the Sea Witch come to life.  

“I’m super pumped for it because I worked really hard, and it’s nice to see all that hard work pay off,” Klepper said. “I’m just really looking forward to having a big, villainous, rambunctious character on stage.” 

Roberts is also confident that the young star will be able to pull off the part of Ursula.

“Ursula’s got to be greater than life,” Roberts said. “Camren can just play the diva; she’s not afraid of anything.”

Both Bryant and Klepper agree that having a starring role in a musical is quite different from a supporting role, but the differences are for the better.

“It’s actually a lot less work than some of the supporting roles because you’re only in some things, and you’re not needed all the time, so it’s a lot more independent,” Bryant said. “ I’m used to having five different costumes and studying five different songs and memorizing all these different things, and (now) I have one costume, one character, I don’t have to change much, I only memorize two songs, and they’re my own, which is a completely different experience.”

Nunez, on the other hand, points out the responsibilities that come with having a lead role.

Having one of the lead roles in a show definitely comes with a lot of responsibility,” Nunez said. “I am grateful to be able to play such a fantastic character, but in return, I must do my part and memorize my lines, rehearse my songs, and guide others in the play who are new to the rehearsal process, such as the younger kids.”

Even though the opening night is a long way off, a lot must happen before the show is ready: Lines must be memorized, sets must be built, songs and dances must be learned and costumes must be made. The process of performing a musical is a long journey but a rewarding one. 

“I love seeing where we go from being in a circle, doing a scene-through or a read-through, and no one really knowing the lyrics or the music or how we’re gonna move or dance or act, and where we go from that to our final night,” Roberts said. “The journey is always the most exciting part for me.”