The Ensemble of ‘the Little Mermaid’

The Ensemble of ‘the Little Mermaid’

The ensemble is the backbone of any great musical and this group of girls are ready for the challenge. Girls from all different grades, choirs, clu

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The ensemble is the backbone of any great musical and this group of girls are ready for the challenge.

Girls from all different grades, choirs, clubs, sports—ranging from the Creative Writing club and SCA, to color guard and softball, to Key Club and NHS—have come together to form the ensemble of Millbrook’s upcoming production of the Little Mermaid. The group is made up of five freshman—Olivia Bish, Kayla Kephart, Karlie Franklin, Sabrina Lamb, and Maggie Mannarino—sophomore Lauren Campbell, juniors Dara Lusk and Carolynn Unger, and senior Nicole Doepper. Doepper is not bothered by being the oldest girl in the ensemble, as she said she has had her “moments” of being “a motherly figure.” She said that sometimes she would get the younger students to calm down and focus during rehearsals, but added, “Sometimes I’ll join in on the fun.” Similarly, Unger remembers being a freshman and getting help from the upper classmen in Drama club. “I kind of want to do that for the freshmen when I’m able to.”

For Doepper and Unger, this is not their first Drama club production. In the past two years, Unger has been a member of the ensemble in Shrek: the Musical and Little Shop of Horrors, in which she got to play very different characters, both a happy villager and a harlot, as well as Ms. Prism in the Importance of Being Earnest, which she said was her most challenging role. Doepper was also part of the ensemble for Shrek, but last year she got to choreograph the dancing for Little Shop of Horrors. “I was so used to receiving orders,” she said, “but last year when I choreographed, I had to flip my perspective, and I had to make sure I was giving clear orders.” For the rest of the girls, this marks their first Millbrook production, as most of them are freshmen, but junior Dara Lusk is new to Millbrook altogether. She moved back to Winchester this year and brings her theatre experience with her. She was part of the Loudoun Center Theatre’s production of Footloose, and was in Fiddler on the Roof and theatre classes at her old high school. She said that the experience of learning scene work in a class has given her more confidence and lets her “jump in” more.

Sophomore Lauren Campbell said that she has always been interested in being in drama, but explained that her middle school didn’t have a drama department. She said that rehearsals have been “fun” but the hardest part has been stopping herself from singing along with the lead vocals, “since The Little Mermaid is such a well known movie.” Freshman Maggie Mannarino said that being in choir has significantly helped her learn the music for the show, and said, “I know the ways that we warm up, and I know how Mr. Kelly teaches his classes.” Freshman Sabrina Lamb remarked, “Mr. Kelly and Mr. Bracken make it a ton of fun.” Freshman Olivia Bish agreed and described her experience so far as “stress, stress, stress, time management, time management–fun.”

The other major facet of being in the ensemble is the sense of community that the girls develop. Freshman Karlie Franklin explained that she only knew a few of the girls, but described working with them as “fun.” Freshman Kayla Kephart knew some of the girls coming into the show, but said that she is happy to make new friends with them.