Harrison County

Gulfport ‘Little Mermaid’ production is ‘about more than just theater’

Kaitlyn Prout stars as Ariel in Downstage Production’s “Disney’s The Little Mermaid.’
Kaitlyn Prout stars as Ariel in Downstage Production’s “Disney’s The Little Mermaid.’ Courtesy

Get ready to experience life “under the sea” as Downstage Production’s version of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” rolls into its last weekend of performances.

Downstage is a nonprofit community theater troupe based in Gulfport.

The show is the Broadway production of the 1989 Disney film “The Little Mermaid,” which follows the adventures of Ariel, a beautiful mermaid princess who dreams of becoming a human.

“This is the full production,” said Lanie Spears of Downstage. “It has all of the songs you love from the movie as well as a lot of stuff you may not know.”

The show stars Kaitlyn Prout as Ariel. Other cast members include James Rojas as Sebastian and Taylor Prescott as Ursula.

“We do three performances a year and we always try to do a children’s show,” Spears said. “We are hoping that this something that will really appeal to area children.”

Spears said Downstage’s mission is not only about theater, but about making an impact on the community.

“It’s more than just theater, it’s about the community and what we can do to help,” she said. “The actors that play Ariel and Prince Eric dressed up in costumes and went to the children’s ward of Memorial Hospital to visit with the patients.”

Although the final curtain will fall on “The Little Mermaid” on Sunday afternoon, Spears said preparations have started for Downstage’s next production.

“We have ‘Disney’s Aladdin Junior,’ which will open Mother’s Day weekend,” she said. “It’s a junior version because it will be scenes from ‘Aladdin.’”

Disney’s The Little Mermaid