Students at William McKinley I.S. 259 perform full scale production of ‘The Little Mermaid’

The stage at William McKinley I.S. 259 took on a nautical feel earlier this month as students put on a seaworthy live action production of “The Little Mermaid.” The play is based on the 1989 Disney animated feature film, which itself was based on an original Danish fairytale written by Hans Christian Andersen.

The full-scale production tells the story of Ariel, a 16-year-old mermaid princess who dreams of becoming human. She lives under the sea surrounded by her best friend Flounder and Scuttle the seagull. She ignores her father King Triton’s warnings and ultimately falls in love with the human Prince Eric. The movie introduced such memorable Alan Menken and Howard Ashman songs as “Under the Sea,” “Part of Your World” and “Kiss the Girl.

McKinley’s production of “The Little Mermaid” was directed by drama teacher John Gibson with music adapted and arranged by David Weinstein.

According to English teacher Jessica Amato, the play was a true crowd pleaser. “Over 100 middle school students participated in the production, which encompassed acting, singing, dancing, creating costumes, set design, providing proper lighting, student choreography and numerous after-school rehearsals,” Amato told this paper.  

School Principal Janice Geary was exceptionally proud of her students’ efforts. “The collaboration of this community event was a great highlight for McKinley, also known as ‘The Pride of Bay Ridge,’” said Geary. “We are so proud of our students. They always amaze us. Their talents are endless, resulting in a priceless performance. Our McKinley family applauds their hard work and efforts to engage family, friends and members of the Bay Ridge community.”  

Mary Ryan, a long-time Bay Ridge resident, was first to jump up to offer students a standing ovation, “It’s such a beautiful school! The students were great,” said Ryan. “The costumes and singing were extraordinary! We especially appreciated the chef, who was played by Maximus Amadeo!”

Following the performance, Gibson proudly introduced his students, gave thanks to all involved and explained to a smiling audience that he is grateful that he gets to do what he loves most, teaching drama and performance art for the enjoyment of all. “His passion is exemplified through the work of his students,” added Amato. 

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