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Swimming into song and dance

Once again, Shawano High School began the process of starting up yet another fantastic musical, which will be performed Thursday, January 30 to Sunday, February 2. It is my hope that those shows display the progress that will be made in the coming months. After the nerves that came along with auditions and anxiously waiting for a cast list, rehearsal for Disney’s stage adaptation of The Little Mermaid started November 12.

As a long-time member of theatre and choir, this filled me with a plethora of excitement and familiar happiness. Junior Peyton Buerman, the talented and lucky girl casted as Ariel, shared my eagerness to get to work.

Junior Peyton Buerman, soon to be Ariel

“I am definitely a little nervous because I’ve never had a lead, but I am excited to just start. Not only music, but getting into character,” Buerman explained.

Along with past theatre performances such as Seussical The Musical at both Shawano High and the Mielke Theater, Buerman has also done competition singing and the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

“With this show I am looking forward to seeing the whole musical come to life. One of the important things we need to remember is that so many people have seen The Little Mermaid, so the standards are high,” Buerman said.

The expectations are definitely present with the high turnout from the past years of packed audiences, and Buerman hopes to duplicate those audiences with The Little Mermaid. She draws inspiration from classic Broadway shows like Mamma Mia and Wicked, but also her little brother, and fellow performer, George.

“I saw him in Mary Poppins, and I am so proud of him for doing shows,” Buerman said. “I am his number one fan, and he just grew so much as part of a musical and that made me regret not doing Mary Poppins.”

Freshman Riley Siegfried has taken on the role of Prince Eric. He really enjoyed the idea of being involved in a show where he could explore and mature his vocal and acting talent.

Freshman Riley Siegfried, soon to be Prince Eric

“I quit swim to do the show, and I have been in it [swim] since fifth grade, so I am excited to be getting to know people involved in theatre and make new friends,” Siegfried said.

Siegfried plans to pursue theatrical arts in the future, and hoped his involvement with high school arts, under the wing of director Mr. Alex Konen and music director Mrs. Jennifer Green, would open doors for him. This hope was sparked in middle school when a music teacher suggested he could make something of his talent.

“My inspiration, my old mentor Mr. Clauson, taught me how to use basic vocal techniques and told me I have a lot of potential. He showed me what I could end up doing,” Siegfried said.

Much like Siegfried, there was another new addition to the musical crew. Landing a lead role as his first solo singing show, senior Matthew Schwitzer has joined the ranks of Thespians as Sebastian the Crab.

Senior Matthew Schwitzer, soon to be Sebastian the Crab

“I have played in the pit for the last three musicals, though I did have a small role in Charlie Brown. I go to church and there are hymns and psalms, but this is definitely more intense work than I am used to,” Schwitzer explained.

He has also participated in a majority of the plays at Shawano High since he started his high school experience. Schwitzer hopes to participate in theatre and band in college as well.

“I want to double major in international relations and film-making, and I have six colleges picked out, but I do want to still take part in theatre and I absolutely want to play in the jazz band,” Schwitzer said.

All three agree that joining a musical is a great opportunity to meet new friends that they would not regularly interact with and get to know them through months of rigorous rehearsing. I feel that when doing something with people you love, the nerves melt away, and, in the end, it is just singing and dancing with your pals.