The Good Knight Theatre Company Stuns With Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Little+Mermaid+Cast+and+Crew%2C+Photo+Courtesy+of+Rachel+Morgan

Little Mermaid Cast and Crew, Photo Courtesy of Rachel Morgan

Julia Key and Alexander Blaide

The Good Knight Theatre Company performed The Little Mermaid Disney musical as their last show of the year. The cast and crew rehearsed since mid-January preparing for the show. 

The Good Knight Theatre Company tried out a new double-casting strategy during this show. As the Omicron COVID variant was still rampant during the audition process, Laramie Dean, the theater director, implemented the double casting as a precaution. Should any principal actors have gotten sick, we would have a backup performer ready to go as Ariel, Eric, Sebastian, or whoever else was gone. This precaution didn’t end up being needed as COVID numbers declined, and the performances were split between the two casts to give both casts the performances they deserved after working for the roles.

This production also included a live pit orchestra. According to Hazel Seagrave, “We love the pit orchestra, and I want to give a shout out to them because I know on our side it’s hard to work with live musicians, but I think for them it’s even harder to work with us because not only do they have to learn the music and play it, which is a challenge in itself, they also have to adjust to each way the actors do it (perform each song), it changes every time, plus its double cast, and each actor does it differently, it seems really difficult, but they are doing such a good job.”

Working with a pit orchestra didn’t seem to be the only problem. “What wasn’t an issue (during the production of the show),” said Morgan Best, who played Ariel. According to the cast, the road to putting on this musical was a bumpy one. “I think our show motto was ‘We’ll figure it out or ‘It’ll be fine,’” said Nick Monsos, who played Prince Eric. 

Costuming was another issue during the musical’s production, according to Seagrave. “Going into this I thought (costuming) was going to be easy and simple, because we got to borrow a lot of the costumes from MCT (Missoula Community Theater) from when they did their production of the Little Mermaid, but it was quite the opposite because they gave us a very random assortment of costumes. We didn’t get a Flounder costume, so there was the fact of finding the costumes, which was hard with a show as unique as this.”

But despite all of the show’s hardships, the cast worked together as a team to put on a great show. “I think theater is a great way to get to know people around you, especially coming into high school, right after COVID,” said Prince Eric actor Kilian Kroenke.

For Ursula actress Kiara Johnson this musical was her first production. “(Working on the show) is incredible, everyone is so amazing and supportive,” Johnson said. But for some, this show was their last. “It’s so fun, especially being a senior, seeing underclassmen and people who haven’t done a show before come in and do this (show),” said Monsos.

According to stage manager Mila Yednak, “The whole theater experience is great because you get to see everyone grow into their characters, and everyone makes relationships that last forever, it’s really great to see people find themselves and make new friends.”

With four shows, including opening night in the middle of the week, the Hellgate and wider Missoula community turned up ready for a good show. Even opening night was packed, and they received a standing ovation. Then on each subsequent night, the audience seemed to grow more and more. On Saturday, the closing night, there were 450 seats filled, nearly a full house. The audience was ecstatic to see everyone and to have musicals back at Hellgate.