NEW PHILADELPHIA — The Schuylkill Ballet Theatre will take the stage this weekend for its performance of “The Little Mermaid.”
Director Sarah Schimpf said the show, based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and featuring familiar songs and characters, will be fun for all ages.
“It’s good for the young and the young at heart,” Schimpf said. “Parents would remember the movie and fairy tale, and children who may not have been exposed to it certainly will enjoy the music and the lights.”
Performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the McGowan Family Theatre at the Simon Kramer Community Center in New Philadelphia.
Schimpf said holding four performances will allow more opportunities for people to attend to make up for the reduced capacity. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance will be limited to 75% capacity, or 125 people per show.
Tickets must be bought online, at schuylkillballet.com.
“We have the maximum available for purchase online only,” Schimpf said. “That way, we can monitor the numbers and not have to turn anybody away at the door.”
She said all involved have been taking all precautions to put the show on safely, including having a smaller cast of 35 performers.
“We split up rehearsals, so less people in the studio at once,” Schimpf said. “It’s a smaller venue, so we have smaller group dances on the stage.”
During the performance, the dancers wear clear masks. Off stage, Schimpf said they make sure to wear full-coverage masks.
Abby Krewson, who plays the lead role of Ariel, said the pandemic has posed challenges, but the experience has been worth it.
“We wear masks at every single practice, which definitely makes it harder to breathe,” Krewson said. “We’ve gone through rough patches, but overall it’s been really good.
“We’ve gotten through it, and we’re here this weekend.”
Krewson, 17, a junior at Blue Mountain High School, said she has been dancing for 15 years, but this show has been special.
“This is my first ever real lead, so it’s really exciting,” she said.
Sheridan Bensinger, 17, a junior at Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, will be performing as the show’s villan, Ursula.
“It’s a character piece, so it’s really cool to get to be evil and mean and try to scare the audience, while trying to get them to like me,” she said.
Schimpf said drawing the audience into a show is one of the best parts of theater.
“There’s something special about live theater,” Schimpf said. “We can definitely captivate you, and then when the lights come on, it’s like, wow, I was just taken somewhere.”
Schimpf said she is excited for this weekend, especially considering the challenges of the pandemic.
“We’re just so thankful to be able to put this on,” Schimpf said. “A lot of places are struggling to figure out how to do it. We are a small enough group that we can make this work.”