[Video] Behind the Scenes at Masquers of West Essex’s “The Little Mermaid”

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Video and Article by Daniella Ignacio ’17

Managing Editor Daniella Ignacio takes Wire viewers behind the scenes with the cast and crew of “The Little Mermaid,” running March 9-11, 2017. For tickets and more information, visit www.westex.org/masquers. To see a Q-and-A with some of the stars, look below!


Masquers of West Essex is thrilled to present Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” After auditions in November and rehearsals for the past four months, they’re ready give this classic tale a new life. I sat down with the show’s Ariel, Prince Eric, King Triton and Ursula, played by senior Caroline Lanfrank, senior Michael Gaccione, junior Matt Uhlendorf and senior Kira Shabbab, respectively, to get insight on the show. 

Why are you so excited for this show? What does it mean to you to do a Disney show like this in your senior year?

CAROLINE: I know at least for me this is been one of my favorite movies since I was a little girl. Playing Ariel is like a dream come true…I think it’s going to be awesome.

MICHAEL: I’d also have to say it’s kinda cool being a prince, this is like one of those movies that I’ve watched since I was a little kid and I just have really fond memories about watching it so it’s really cool to be part of it.

How has this process, being the leads, been different from previous Masquers shows because of your leading roles?

CAROLINE: It’s definitely awesome and it’s something I’ve wanted for a really long time and I worked really hard to get, so it’s rewarding, and super challenging. It’s a lot of singing and a lot of memorization and lines and everything, but it’s so fun and it’s more than anything I could have hoped for.

MATT: As a lead, it is a lot of memorization. It takes a lot of character building, especially when you have the character that’s already been established in different iterations of this story before.

MICHAEL: Last year I was technically a supporting lead but this is the first time being like a “lead” lead where the show kind of revolves around us so it’s different.

Why should people come see “The Little Mermaid?”

KIRA: It’s a really fun show and everyone loves “The Little Mermaid” so everyone should come see it!

MATT: “The Little Mermaid” has always been such a beloved Disney film, and I feel like seeing this being recreated in live action is just gonna be such an amazing experience!

What have you enjoyed the most about being part of Masquers?

CAROLINE: I’ve made so many friends through this program that I would have never been friends with and it’s been such an awesome creative outlet for me and helped me gain confidence. 

MICHAEL: Being part of the Masquers family is pretty cool, because everyone’s really close with each other…I kind of know everyone that’s been around and have good relationships with them, so it’s nice to continue doing that and being part of it.

MATT: I’ve been part of the Masquers family since I was in seventh grade and it’s been such an experience –  it just makes me really sad that so many of these people are gonna be leaving that have been here since almost the beginning.

KIRA:  It’s been a great loving experience and we all love each other. It’s like a big family, I’ve been doing it since I was a sophomore, since “Legally Blonde,” “The Addams Family,” and now “The Little Mermaid,” and it’s just so much fun and I love this family and everyone in it.