The Academy Playerz will perform four showings of “The Little Mermaid JR” in mid-December at the Breedlove Auditorium on the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith campus.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children 10 and under. There will be four showings by two separate casts: one cast will perform on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 14 at 2 p.m., and another cast will perform on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. 

“The Little Mermaid” is based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about a young mermaid who yearns to leave her ocean home for the world that awaits outside the water after she falls in love with a prince she sees from afar. But to escape to the world above water, she’ll have to defy her father, King Triton, and make a deal with an evil sea witch.

The show features hit songs “Part of Your World,” “She’s in Love,” and the Oscar-winning “Under the Sea.”

Director Shannon Stoddard of Fort Smith said the shows are “going to be phenomenal.”

“Working on ‘The Little Mermaid’ has been so much fun,” she said. “The music is so catchy, the dances are adorable, and you can’t help but love the classic story.”

This is the Academy of the Arts’ second rendition of a Disney classic in this year’s series. Previously, they performed “Disney’s Aladdin KIDS” on Oct. 26. 

Jada Mack of Greenwood, who plays Ariel in the production, and Dana Mays of Fort Smith, who plays Ursula, said they have loved the time spent working on the show.

Mack said, “being with the Academy of the Arts is an amazing experience,” a feeling echoed by Mays.

“I couldn’t be happier with the whole experience the Academy has given me,” Mays said. 

Stoddard agreed, saying “The Little Mermaid JR” is one of her favorite shows.

“I’ve really been enjoying bringing the show to life with these students,” she said. “They always have so much life and vibrancy to add to everything they do.”

Members of the two casts include:

Barling: Heaven White.

Charleston: Alyvia Wooden.

Fort Smith: Kinsey Barnett, Gabriella Collins, Emma Conley, Michael Doss, Leslie Gonzalez, Sadie Hanesworth, Van Harris, Shelby Hartwig, Ethne Hester, Hollace Hubbard, Sarah Long, Dalavanh Martinez, Ethan Martinez, Dana Mays, Michael Moreton, Hayden Parker, Aryn Rink, Erin Sampley, Kaitlin Seiter, Izabelle Simonian, Anna Claire Tilley, Jayson Toney, Braeden Wear, Maycie Wilbanks, Ethan Wright.

Greenwood: Kennedy Holland, Grant Huneycutt, Jada Mack, Juliet Ngwira, Hannah Wheatley.

Lavaca: Caitlin Elliott.

Mulberry: Rylee Lewis.

Muldrow, Okla.: Gabrielle Gore.

Pocola, Okla.: Lily Jarnagin, Cadence Jones.

Roland, Okla.: Katie Vann.

In addition to Stoddard, the production team includes Hillary Yerton as choreographer, Sheila Mann as music director, Lindsay Hobbs as costume designer, and Zack Hiatt as set designer, all of Fort Smith.

“The Little Mermaid JR” is part of the Academy of the Arts’ On Stage series, which includes other productions such as “Shrek the Musical,” “A Year with Frog and Toad Kids,” and “Pirates of Penzance JR.” The On Stage series has a total of 12 events featuring young and seasoned performers in musical and theatrical productions.

For tickets, contact the UAFS Box Office at 479-788-7300 or visit


Story ID: 
Date Posted: 
Thursday, November 14, 2013
News Teaser: 
The Academy Playerz will perform four showings of “The Little Mermaid JR” in mid-December at the Breedlove Auditorium on the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith campus.