Lancer Spotlight 4/25/23: LHS drama department takes the audience ‘Under the Sea’ for opening night of ‘The Little Mermaid’


Mike Miller

Ursula (Lauren Hackett) blew the crowd away with her performance of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” with Ariel (Malia Smaha).

by Hannah Moore, Reporter

On Friday, April 21, the Linganore High School drama department opened the curtains on their spring musical, “The Little Mermaid.”

“The Little Mermaid” is a story of a rebellious teenage mermaid named Ariel, portrayed by senior Malia Smaha, who against her fathers demands, falls in love with a human prince named Eric, portrayed by senior Ben Maerten. In hopes to be with him, she makes a dangerous deal with a sea witch named Ursula, portrayed by senior Lauren Hackett, and trouble ensues.

For the past five months, students and their directors have been working diligently to put on a magical show. These months have been spent blocking scenes, choreographing dances,  running lines, creating sets and props, practicing songs, running microphone checks and all else that rehearsals entail.

For the first few months, the production was run solely by co-director Dan Lake, including auditions and rehearsals. In early March, director Angela Smithhisler returned from maternity leave, ready to take charge of the show. 

“Honestly, it was so stressful coming back to direct after 12 long weeks of maternity leave,” Smithhisler said. “When I came back to rehearsals, there were definitely changes to my original vision for the show that I needed to come to terms with. But, for the most part, the creative team and Mr. Lake kept things running so smoothly in my absence that it was easy to pick back up where I left.”

A major part of her vision was knowing she had two incredibly talented seniors to cast as the leading ladies. Last year, Smaha and Hackett played the leads in “Freaky Friday” and blew away the crowds with their talent. 

This year, you could not help but be in awe of how the actors brought these characters to life, especially Ariel, who is such a beloved character to many.

“My favorite part of playing Ariel is putting smiles on people’s faces,” Smaha said. “Ariel is an iconic Disney princess, and I’m so happy to bring her to Linganore.”

However, playing such an iconic role also brought high expectations from audience members, which Smaha said created pressure for her to do her best. 

“I think Malia blew the role out of the water and she did amazing,” freshman Emme Haraway said. “She has such a great voice and acting presence that really lived up to my expectations.”

On top of all the talent and hard work that went into this production, the pivotal factor was making the theater feel like a home. The actors expressed that all of the stress and expectations they feel are lessened when surrounded by loved ones. 

“It’s definitely easier when I have my best friend, Lauren Hackett, by my side,” Smaha said.

The cast and crew ran two more shows on Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23. They will conclude “The Little Mermaid” with two final shows on Thursday, April 27 and Friday, April 28. Tickets for the show are still available. If interested, one can purchase tickets here.