The Times photo by Betsy ReasonRiley Hobbs as Ariel and Addison McMillan as Ursula in a scene from Disney's "The Little Mermaid," opening tonight at The Belfry Theatre.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason

Riley Hobbs as Ariel and Addison McMillan as Ursula in a scene from Disney's "The Little Mermaid," opening tonight at The Belfry Theatre.
When The Belfry Theatre's Apprentice Players production of Disney's "The Little Mermaid" opens tonight, I'll be there.

I'll also be there on Saturday at the matinee and evening. And on Sunday. And all of next weekend.

Earlier, I shared that my daughter had auditioned for the youth production and was cast as Ursula, the sea witch. She's among 57 adorable kids, ages 4-13, in the musical.

What I didn't share was that I am a first-time producer for this show.

A couple of years ago, I was asked to be producer for an Apprentice Players production, but I had no experience producing. I thought, "What do I know?"

So this year, I told director Connie Murello-Todd that if she didn't have a producer, I would be more than happy to do it.

I still really didn't know what it meant to be a producer. I only knew that producers promote shows to sell tickets and bring in money. Being that I'm in the newspaper business, I figured that part would come easy.

And while I have seen "The Producers" musical and the Mel Brooks film by the same name, I don't think that's quite the job I had in mind.

So, being a first-timer, I wanted to make sure that I did everything 200 percent, as I try to do everything else. Except housework, that is.

One of my jobs was creating the show's program that people receive when they come to the show. Being that there are 57 kids in the show, that meant 57 head shots to photograph and 57 bios to gather and publish and make sure every photo, every name, was correct. But I took the program a couple of steps up. I asked local businesses, organizations and individuals to support the 57 kids by advertising in the program. I asked parents and grandparents to support their 57 cast members with "Congrats ads." And I'm thrilled to say that our show program turned into a booklet.

Another one of my jobs was ordering T-shirts for the cast and crew, whose names were printed on the back. We'll have some extras to sell at the shows, to help raise money for The Belfry Theatre and scholarships for local high school students.

Adriene's Flowers & Gifts is donating carnations available to audiences for cast-member gifts at the shows. We also received kids' fun packages that we'll give away at the cast party the final night of the show.

My job will not be done until the show is over. But I give thanks to all of those who helped support The Belfry's kids show so that these 57 kids could have a memorable experience. Thank you to all of the parent volunteers who helped make this show possible. Thank you to the directors and crew who worked together to create this wonderful production.

And I am proud to share that the eight-show run that opens tonight and continues through next weekend, has a waiting list. It's sold out.

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