Under the sea

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 4, 2013

It’s taken Lizzie Medlin some time to get used to morphing into a mermaid.
The transformation included dyeing her long, brown hair red, pulling on a fin over her legs and floating her arms up and down to make it appear she’s swimming in the ocean.
“It’s very complicated to go from that to being on land and walking,” she said. “It can get tricky switching back and forth between the two.”
But Medlin’s been up to the challenge.
“This is totally a dream come true for the little girl inside of me,” she said. “It’s overwhelming to play the Disney princess you grew up watching on TV because I never really thought I’d be Ariel.”
Medlin, a high school freshman from New London, will make her debut on the Norvell Theater stage next Thursday when Piedmont Players Theatre’s production of ‘The Little Mermaid Jr.’ opens.
She’ll be joined by a number of newbies like herself as well as Piedmont Players veterans such as Anthony Cataldo, a rising Carson High School senior who will play Prince Eric.
“When I got the role I was happy, but it didn’t really hit me that I’m playing a Disney prince until we were working on the drowning scene,” he said. “‘The Little Mermaid’ was my favorite movie as a kid, so it’s great.’”
Cataldo said the intricate costumes and mammoth sets bring the show to life.
“Reid Leonard has gone all out with the sets,” he said. “I’ve been wanting sets like this for a kids’ show and we have never gotten them until now.
“It’s beautiful and we have talent in this cast.”
Guest director Gwen Matthews said the cast includes third through 12th-grade students from Rowan County, Albemarle, New London, Concord and Mooresville.
“They had to get to know each other so that they could pull out each other’s talent and support and encourage each other,” she said. “We have a lot of group dynamic time, that’s something I stress as a director.”
Matthews said the group has mastered the art of singing and dancing at the same time.
“It’s hard to do my choreography, I make them move,” she said. “They have worked really hard to put those two elements together.”
Matthews said the audience can expect to hear some fantastic voices during the performance.
“The girls who were picked for all the parts were chosen for their ability to harmonize,” she said. “We’ve worked very hard on not just singing the melody line, but to harmonize.”
Fans of the Disney movie won’t be disappointed with the stage production, Matthews said.
“The storyline gets condensed because it’s a junior show, but it’s all the same characters, it’s all the same songs and I think we do a respectable job,” she said.

Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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