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Boardman Drama Guild to perform "The Little Mermaid"

November 7, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

A cast and crew of 55 students from Boardman High School's Drama Guild will bring Disney's "The Little Mermaid" to the Boardman Performing Arts Center (BPAC) on Nov. 15, 16, and 17 at 7 p.m.

"The students have been rehearsing for the production since the second week of school," said director Rachel Ruggieri. "It has been about a 10-week rehearsal process."

"This is my first time directing the High School Drama Guild, and I am amazed by the students," she said. "They are so intelligent and eager to learn. The scope of student talent this year is nothing short of amazing."

Article Photos

Cora Ams plays the role of Ariel in the upcoming production of 'The Little Mermaid.'

Riggieri herself is no stranger to the stage. When she attended Boardman High School as a student, she was a member of the Drama Guild. She went on to Kent State University and got her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theater.

"Now, I have returned to my 'home stage' to encourage and teach the students in Boardman's Drama program," she said. "It is just my first time directing at Boardman High School. I directed 'Aladdin Jr.' at Boardman Glenwood Junior High last year."

When attending Boardman High School she realized that theater and acting were her passions.

"I have come to realize that I actually enjoy sharing my talents and skills through teaching more than I do performing myself," Ruggieri said. "It is much more rewarding to see the students soaking up what they have learned and really becoming outstanding performers and individuals."

As for the costumes and props, a lot of work went into the production. Many costumes were tweaked from pieces in the Drama Guild's costume closet. She had some help from her mother in making some of the more difficult costumes such as the mermaid skirts

"It isn't always easy turning people into fish," she said.

As for props and backdrops, Ruggieri said this show has a lot of characters, and they all have their own little spaces and settings, so many set pieces and props were needed. Set builders needed to build a giant ship for Prince Eric and the sailors. Ruggieri thought they were going to faint when she told them that, but they made it happen. Some other props have been made by Ruggieri, and the students.

"We are even 3D-printing some props, such as King Triton's trident and Ursula's magic shell," she said.

Tickets for the performance are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased starting a half hour before the show, or online at

Ruggieri explained the need to bring in funds from the performances. The rights to a musical typically costs around $2,000. The rights to a Disney musical is in the $3,000-$4,000 range, and that only includes the right to perform the show, the books, and the music. All costume, props and set design are in addition to that amount.

"All that we make on ticket sales and fundraisers goes to funding the next shows at Boardman," she said. "We always ask for support from the community because without them none of this could be possible."

Ruggieri is hoping she will be with the Boardman program for a long time to come.

"Down the road, I hope to continue directing in the Boardman Local School District," she said. "Our school district is overflowing with talented students, just waiting to put their talents to work. We also have one of the most beautiful facilities (the Boardman Performing Arts Center), and I hope to make the most of what is to come to that stage."



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