Take a Bow to host finn-tastic performance of ‘The Little Mermaid’

May 31, 2024

A Dartmouth-based youth theater company is taking audiences under the sea with its upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid.”

The company, Take a Bow Theater, is a musical theater troupe for local children in grades two through eight.

One of the troupe’s founders is Marianne Oien, who is co-directing this year’s production of “The Little Mermaid.”

This year, there are 57 members of the cast, which is the biggest cast that the theater company has recently had. Co-director Michele Dreher said that the show has a lot of production numbers, which lets students participate in three or four numbers each, instead of just one or two. 

“We try to have the kids appear on stage as much as possible — keep them active,” Oien said 

Oien said she felt that this year’s production had “really strong leads.” 

Dartmouth resident Olivia Scott, 14, plays “Ursula” in the show. Olivia said she has been involved with the troupe since 2019, and now that she is in eighth grade, this will be her last show with the group. 

Olivia said the most challenging part of her role was getting into Ursula’s personality, and that she has never played a villain before.

“I try not to be very condescending like she is, and it’s very difficult to get into that mindset of being mean to children instead of how I usually am with kids.”

Not only is it Olivia’s first time playing a villain, but it is also her first lead role in a production, she said. 

Olivia said while it is her last performance with Take a Bow, she is coming back to be a teacher next year. She said working with younger students is her favorite part of the production and program.

Olivia is not the only cast member who will be leaving Take a Bow after this production. Mya McPhillips, 14, who plays Ariel, will also take her final bow with Take a Bow at the end of “The Little Mermaid.”

Mya said one of her favorite parts of the show is when she loses her voice because it’s fun to “be very animated and not have to worry about singing and lines.”

Mya said overall, her experience playing Ariel has been fun. 

Oien is also directing her granddaughter, Katherine Oien, 7, for the first time in “The Little Mermaid.” Directing her granddaughter in the show has been “wonderful,” she said. 

“It’s like a full circle of why I really do this,” Oien said. “For the enjoyment of all the kids, and now I get to have my own family be a part of it and enjoy it.” 

“It’s very special,” she said.

See “The Little Mermaid” at the Westport Middle-High School Auditorium, 400 Old County Road, Westport. Showings will take place Friday, June 7 at 7 p.m. and Saturdays, June 8 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.