The Homecoming Musical “The Little Mermaid” is making the change to the Abilene Civic Center after being expected in the new Boone Family Theater.
With this move, the Department of Theatre was able to use the set from “The Little Mermaid” tour due to the larger stage. As well, the Abilene Civic Center will be able to hold around 1,000 more seats than Boone Family Theater, sitting at 600 available seats.
The reasoning for the transition came down to global shipping issues, said Dawne Swearingen-Meeks, director of the Homecoming Musical and theater department chair.
“When we finally got to the point where we recognized there are things that are out of our hands, everyone was trying so hard to make things happen,” Meeks said.
As well, issues with the fly system showed up though they weren’t dangerous, said Emilee Reed, lead and senior musical theatre major from Salem, Oregon.
“The way it kind of affects me most is we will be using fly rails, the leads will be flying into the air,” Reed said. “I don’t think it was unsafe in Boone, it will be just more feasible because the Civic Center theater was built for it.”
The extra seating in the Civic Center will provide more availability for student rush tickets as well as allow more families to see the show.
“It’s awesome to get to be able to be the lead in the Civic Center because it’s such a huge stage,” Reed said. “To be blessed with the opportunity to be one of those leads on that stage and I know the other leads feel the same way.”
However, the department and the cast and crew continue to see the positives of the transition to the Civic Center despite wanting to bring the Homecoming Musical home.
“I can’t wait till we are able to be back on campus and tell our beautiful stories in that space,” Meeks said. “However, this is just a reality for everyone, including Broadway. We walk in gratitude and we tell our story.”
The cast and crew began the move to the Civic Center last week, moving in the new set to prepare for rehearsals. The transition to the Civic Center falls mostly on the students, including Layla Rorem, props master and sophomore theatre major from Plano who deals with keeping track of the props and set pieces.
Despite this unexpected move, Rorem is excited about the idea of going back to the Civic Center.
“We were all super hype about Boone Family Theater because we were going to be the first Homecoming Musical in the new Boone,” Rorem said. “There are different reasons to be excited about the Civic Center, Civic Center has been a part of ACU theater for a very long time. It’s just a really cool facility that gives us a lot of opportunities, so it’s still a part of ACU tradition”
“The Little Mermaid” will be debuted over three dates, Oct. 14-16 with two 8 p.m. performances and one 2 p.m. performance. People are encouraged to buy tickets through the box office, as well students are encouraged to participate in the rush tickets.