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Cape Coral Playhouse presents ‘Little Mermaid’

July 4, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

When Emmi Heinkel woke up Thursday morning, she had no idea what she was in for.

Heinkel, who was to play Aquatta in the Cape Coral Playhouse presentation of "The Little Mermaid," got a call. The person who was supposed to play Ariel had come down with a stomach bug and she would have to take the lead role.

So, for a production that went from start to finish in eight days, Heinkel would have to learn the lead role in eight hours.

Article Photos

Emmi Heinkel, as Ariel, and Ryan Rosado, as Prince Eric, perform the Cape Coral Playhouse’s performance of “The Little Mermaid” at the Shell Factory on Thursday.


And she nailed it. She needed a script, but she still nailed it on the opening night of the production held in the Dolphin Room at the Shell Factory.

There were also performances Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

Kathy Rivadeneira and Dana Scippo, owners of the Cape Coral Playhouse, also directed the summer production in which the cast was chosen, the lines and songs memorized and the scenery made in eight days, with the cast between the ages of 7 and 15.

"It's a lot of singing, dancing acting, the older students did their own choreography and it's a real hands-on program," Rivadeneira said. "They do a whole bunch of different roles."

The summer productions started in 2014 and moved around a bit before settling at the Shell Factory last year.

The production was something of a "theater in the round" in reverse. The scenery was on the outside walls of the room (with one scene behind the bar area) with the audience in the center, moving their chairs with the scenes.

With a handful of actors getting sick, roles got switched around, including the main role. Thankfully, the young thespians were flexible and understood the show must go on.

Heinkel, 12, said she was stunned when she learned she would be Ariel, but said she was ready and she nailed her big number, "Part of your World."

She would have plenty of help from veteran castmates such as Aiyanna James, 14, who played the villain, Ursala.

"I sang 'Poor Unfortunate Souls' in the audition and they liked how I did. We did so much every day and I'm so happy how it turned out because we didn't have much time," James said.

Other characters included Ryan Rosado as Prince Eric, Melaney Stringham as King Triton, Francie Robu as Sebastian the crab, and Lilly Scippo as Seahorse.

All things considered, Rivadeneira said the first show went well.

"We had to change around so many pieces and parts. I think they had it together like professionals," Rivadeneira said. "Emmi did great. She made a lot of people tear up and she should be real proud of herself."



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