HARLINGEN — They’re best friends both on and off stage.
“Flounder’s the best friend Ariel could wish for so it’s super easy to be her best friend,” said Bianca Rios, 10, who plays Flounder in the upcoming production of The Little Mermaid.
Kids from the Lee Means Elementary Fine Arts Academy have been rehearsing since December and they’re psyched for their opening show tonight. Bianca has been friends for years with Nadia Vento, 10, who plays Ariel the Little Mermaid.
“Ariel is my favorite Disney princess and I’m just so glad that I got into this role,” said Nadia. “It feels really good having the lead role because I haven’t had a role in which almost the whole show and all the scenes are about her.”
In The Little Mermaid, 23 children tell the story of how Ariel wants to become human so she can be with Prince Eric. Ursula turns her into a human in exchange for her voice. She says if she can get the prince, played by Nicholas Allex, to kiss her within three days, she can remain human. Otherwise, she’ll turn back into a mermaid.
At a dress rehearsal earlier this week the kids seemed almost giddy with excitement.
“I’m a blowfish,” said one boy in a brown and white costume with ghastly spikes.
“I don’t know what I am,” said a girl jokingly as she looked over her purple costume and considered the fins spreading from her head.
They all waited in playful costumes of maroon, sapphire blue and emerald green, fidgeting with all the energy of nervous fish darting through a coral reef.
“The rehearsals are going really, really well,” said Sally Navarro, instructor.
“The kids are very excited about the performance and it was very easy to train them on the flying system,” she said.
That’s right. A flying crew has been working with the kids, teaching them how to fly over the stage using lines, harnesses and pulleys. Catalina Cabello-Corona, 10, likes sailing overhead. She didn’t seem the least bit nervous.
“We have rehearsed it a few times already,” she said. “I like my song, I have a solo, and I also like to fly. There is a wonderful flying crew.”
She especially enjoys hovering in the air as Ursula declares her incantations and condemnations to Ariel and everyone else.
“She kind of is obsessed with herself,” Catalina said. “She’s a diva. She’s basically in exile right now. She has these two eels. She treats them like they’re slaves. She doesn’t really care about them.”
Grimsby, played by 10-year-old Max Phipps, certainly cares about the prince. That’s his job.
“I’m the prince’s protector and mainly I’m supposed to make sure that he becomes king,” said Max, straightening his glistening red coat.
“At the beginning he doesn’t want to be king,” he pointed out.
Nicholas likes the role of Prince Eric.
“I know when I’m gonna be on the ship I have to be all roustabout and everything,” said Nicholas, 9. “He doesn’t want to be king, but when he found Ariel, that’s when he wanted to be king and have her as his queen.”
CAST OF LITTLE MERMAID
Kayla Rosa Crenshaw
Camila Rohrbough, second grade
Maya Kroesen, third grade
Valeria Romero, fifth grade
Jasmine Romero, fifth grade
If You Go
WHAT: The Little Mermaid
WHERE: HCISD Performing Arts Center
3127 Wilson Road
WHEN: Feb. 22, 23, 25, 26 at 7 p.m.
Feb. 24 at 2:30
GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS: $10
STUDENT ADMISSION: $5
TICKETS MAY BE PURCHASED ONLINE AT: