Spring musical is splashing success

Drama successfully brings a well-loved childhood fairytale in the most energetic way possible.

Emily Jacobsson

The heavily copyrighted magic of Disney is often difficult to recreate. Even then, when the lights dimmed in the theater and Sebastian’s (Amelia Anijielo) voice announced a few guidelines before the play began, I was struck with the excitement of waiting in line for a ride at Disneyland.

 The Diamond Bar High School  Drama department’s productions have always been a highlight in my year and I will happily remember “The Little Mermaid,” fantastically recreated, as the last production I will be able to enjoy as a DBHS student.

As Ariel for three of the performances, freshman Allison Santogrossi was lovely. Her voice is elegant and  could easily compete with that of an actual Disney princess. Though only in her third production at DBHS, Santogrossi held her ground in a cast of more experienced actors.

She perfectly replicated the amazement and wonder found in Ariel’s eyes and voice when she talked about the world above the water. In the male lead role, senior Luke Teerling was charming as Prince Eric. His vocal range reached lower than I expected, making for pleasant duets with Santogrossi.

Even with Ursula’s unique costume, complete with a purple body suit and face makeup and tentacles, senior Pilar Alcazar stood out because of her skillful performance rather than her appearance. Alcazar’s relatively deep voice fit her role perfectly and she impressively belted out her evil plans.

Easily my favorite song in the musical was  “Under the Sea.” The stage was flooded with color as Sebastian tries to convince Ariel, in vain, that life below the surface of the water is better. The fantastic display of bright costumes and flags that some cast members danced with, accompanied by the energetic performance by Anijielo and the ensemble would have been enough to convince anyone, other than Ariel of course, of the truth behind the lyrics.

The sets created for the musical, while rather simple, did their job. A wisp of a cloud, somehow created by seemingly real water vapor, was omnipresent on the stage, adding a nice touch. The costumes in this production were more flashy than any DBHS production by far. Ariel’s eight sisters wore beautiful monochromatic dresses, correlating with the color of their character’s tails in the movie, that sparkled magnificently.

A DBHS musical is never complete without the pit orchestra. They were the main factor in creating the magical atmosphere and, as usual, delivered a professional-level performance. However, typical of opening night shows, there were a couple of issues with audio. During some songs, the accompanying singers overpowered the lead and what they were singing could not be heard at all.

“The Little Mermaid” does not hold the political weight of “In The Heights,” or the emotional intensity of “Les Miserables.” But, what it did better than any past drama musical production was create a feeling of intangible, childlike joy. I am always impressed and grateful to be able to witness the professionalism and passion evident in our theater department performances, and “The Little Mermaid” was no exception.