Curtain goes up on 'Young Frankenstein' at Maine West, while Maine East stages 'The Little Mermaid'

Stories of fantasy and the supernatural will take center stage in musical productions at Maine Township District 207 high schools.

Maine West in Des Plaines will present "Young Frankenstein," while Maine East in Park Ridge will bring "Disney's The Little Mermaid" to life.

'Young Frankenstein'

Maine West's Fine Arts Department will present Mel Brooks' musical "Young Frankenstein" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16, 17 and 18, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19.

Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for adults and can be purchased at The school is at 1755 S. Wolf Road in Des Plaines.

This story is a parody of the horror film genre, combining the stories of the 1931 Universal Pictures adaptation of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" and its 1935 and 1939 sequels, "Bride of Frankenstein" and "Son of Frankenstein." In 2007, the Broadway version of the film premiered.

Though a comedy that has plenty of Mel Brooks' classic anecdotes, the overall embedded themes are love and acceptance, accompanied with music that can be described as upbeat, lighthearted and vaudevillian.

Some of the hits include "Puttin' On the Ritz," "Transylvania Mania," "Roll in the Hay," and "Together Again."

Behind the scenes is a tech crew of about 20 students under the direction of auditorium manager Peter McManus. The crew is designing and constructing the set, designing and controlling the lighting, organizing all props, and handling sound engineering.

Costumes are being designed by Ashley Benson along with student assistants.

"This musical stands out compared to other musicals I've worked on because of the humor," said Jaiden Maisonet, a sophomore playing the role of Frau Blucher. "'Young Frankenstein' is filled with jokes and little innuendos that make even the cast crack up and break character."

Igor is played by newcomer Haven Wallgren Lemmerman.

"The most enjoyable part of being in this show is the process of working with people that I've never really worked with before, and I get to make so many great friends and learn more about acting and music," Lemmerman said.

When comparing this production to previous shows, Amelia Foy, who plays Elizabeth Benning, said, "The movie 'Young Frankenstein' is a classic just like last year's 'Beauty and the Beast,' however, this show couldn't be any more different. This show is a wild ride that you will never forget. Even after watching this show over and over again during the rehearsal process, I still find new things to laugh at. I have been doing shows at Maine West since my freshman year, but this show is really special."

Director David Harmon believes this show is special because it provides an opportunity to share a lesser known story with the greater Des Plaines community.

"Sure, everyone loves 'Beauty and the Beast,' but everyone knows what to expect with a well-known Disney musical," Harmon said. "Conversely, 'Young Frankenstein' is full of twists. Audiences may be genuinely surprised by how the story plays out - a challenge we've accepted!"

"Young Frankenstein" contains adult humor and language that may not be suitable for all young audiences. The show is rated PG-13.

'The Little Mermaid'

Maine East High School will present "Disney's The Little Mermaid." Senior Jubilee Kim portrays Prince Eric and senior Michaelene Marchetta is Ariel. Courtesy of District 207

The Maine East High School Fine Arts Department is excited to present their winter musical, "Disney's The Little Mermaid," with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, and book by Doug Wright.

This musical, based on the Hans Christian Anderson story and the Disney film, will premiere at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, with additional shows at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19; and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 24-25.

Tickets, $10, can be purchased at the door or at

"The Little Mermaid" is based on a fairy tale that follows the journey of a young mermaid who is willing to give up her life in the sea to gain a human soul. Teen mermaid Ariel is fascinated with life on land. On one of her visits to the surface, which are forbidden by her controlling father, King Triton, she falls for a human prince.

Determined to be with her new love, Ariel makes a dangerous deal with the sea witch Ursula to become human for three days. But when plans go awry for the star-crossed lovers, the king must make the ultimate sacrifice for his daughter. The show is filled with brilliant sea creatures, fantastic music and beautiful underwater scenery.

Maine East High School will present "Disney's The Little Mermaid." Senior Lucy Planica works on a costume for the show. Courtesy of District 207

A dedicated cast, crew and orchestra have spent the past months learning their parts and building complex characters and scenery.

"This show is different from any other show we have done because the scenery allows more student-centered creativity," said technical director Jessica Mitilineous. "Students are designing elements of the under the sea world and contributing unique ideas and designs."

The sound crew is also excited to present their work. Senior Arya Rimal said, "I am excited to see younger audiences react to our musical. We have done more mature shows the past few years. We are happy to have kids come to see the magic of Disney come to life on stage."

"We are working really hard to master our heely shoes to achieve the underwater swimming effect needed for 'The Little Mermaid,'" said sophomore James Fleischel. "It is hard to learn how to balance and glide, but it will be worth the work when our audience sees us and it looks like we are fish swimming."

Students have worked in groups to create costumes, scenery, choreography and the singing and dancing elements.

Senior Michaelene Marchetta, who plays Ariel, shared that she can't wait to see all of the parts of the show come together.

"'The Little Mermaid' was one of my favorite movies," Marchett said. "The little girl who wanted to be a Disney princess is excited to become one!"

"It has been so enjoyable to work on great music by Alan Menken with our talented students," said pit orchestra director Andrew Beckwith. "I can't wait to begin putting the production together on a larger scale and sharing it with our community."

Director Karen Hall said, "Doing a Disney musical is always a joy and a challenge. I love watching our actors create such iconic characters. We are working hard to bring this magical world under the sea to life."

Younger students are invited to purchase additional tickets for the "Under the Tea Party" at noon Sunday, Feb. 19. Cost is for $15. Tea, sandwiches, snacks and dessert will be served. Crafts, character visits and autographs will be included. Additional tickets are needed to attend the 2 p.m. matinee performance that follows.

Additionally, Maine East will hold an Alumni Night at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. Alumni are invited to share their favorite Maine East stories with the district's WMTH- TV and WMTH-90.5 FM radio station.

Alumni are invited to participate in a building tour and connect with friends from high school. Admission is free to the Alumni Night event and all alumni in attendance are encouraged to stay for the show at 7 p.m.

Maine East High School is at 2601 Dempster St., Park Ridge.

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