The stage for "Grounded" is seen inside of the Kenai Performers’ black box theatre on Monday, March 15 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

The stage for "Grounded" is seen inside of the Kenai Performers’ black box theatre on Monday, March 15 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Presenting Little Mermaid

Kenai Performers youth drama camp takes center stage

The Kenai Performers youth drama campers hit the stage with their rendition of the “Little Mermaid” musical this weekend after a yearlong hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Terri Burdick, the president of the Kenai Performers board and the director of the musical, said the crew has been putting together the final touches for the Friday and Saturday shows.

“We’ve been adding elements for the last three days,” she said earlier this week in an interview with the Clarion.

Many of the Kenai Performers shows were canceled last year because of the pandemic, but the youth campers have been coming together for the past month to prepare themselves for this weekend’s musical.

There are 12 kids in the cast and two as behind-the-scenes helpers, Burdick said. Their ages range from 9 to 13, and less than half have had experience in performing arts.

“We tried to put people where their talents shine,” she said. “It’s been kind of challenging in some ways, because they haven’t had the stage presence. It’s new to some people.”

The kids have been finalizing the performance this week — practicing costume changes and with full lighting and audio setup, and running through their lines. They’re “learning all those little tricky things,” Burdick said.

Last Friday she had the kids perform without their lines for the first time.

“I saw a big improvement from (last) Friday to Monday,” Burdick said, after many of the kids took the weekend to rehearse on their own.

Burdick said some of the campers are ready for this weekend and some are feeling the pre-show jitters.

“It’s a nervous excitement,” she said.

The kids take center stage for their first show on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and again on Saturday at 2 p.m in the drama camp building at 44045 Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna. The performances are by “pay-as-you-can” donations at the door.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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