The Little Mermaid Jr Cast and Crew


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Allie Norman (Pilot) – Alexzandria (Allie) is 11 years old and will be returning to the 6th grade at Dresden Elementary after finishing 2 1/2 years of chemo treatment battling leukemia at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Allie has always loved musicals and live theatre, the Little Mermaid being one of her favorites, and is excited that this will serve as her acting debut, and hopes that everyone loves the play as much as she does.
Mara Jade Hand (Sailor) – Mara Jade is a 13 year old freshman. She has enjoyed acting since she was five. She loves to write and draw, along with practicing her Violin and Guitar. Her goal is to travel the world and become a successful writer. This is her first time at Zanesville Community Theatre.
Caleb Delong (Prince Eric) – Caleb is a 15 year old, sophomore at Maysville High school. He enjoys singing in his school choir and being a part of his Youth Group. Caleb has considered being Prince Eric his dream role ever since he saw The Little Mermaid on Broadway when he was 9.
Drew Hartley (Grimsby) – I am in the fourth grade at Crooksville Elementary. I have been a pirate in Peter Pan Jr., a playing card in Alice and Wonderland, and Pugsley Addams in The Addams Family. I enjoy playing basketball, baseball, and singing. I am excited to play Grimsby in The Little Mermaid.
Isabella Smith (Seahorse) – Isabella is 9 years old and is in the fourth grade at Duncan Falls Elementary School. She has performed with the Broadway Babies as well as Philo High School’s productions of Cinderella and The Sound of Music. In her spare time she enjoys music, crafts, and softball.
Jack McLendon (King Triton) – Jack has appeared in many productions throughout the years, both at ZCT and at The Renner. He was recently seen as The March Hare in Alice in Wonderland Jr., and Snoopy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. He enjoys cats, theater, and his awesome directors. Jack is a Junior at Tri-Valley High School.
Julia Belle Gantzer (Sebastian) – Julia is a 6th grader at John McIntire Elementary. Julia loves singing and dancing, and has taken ballet since the age of 3. She is excited that her hard work has paid off so that she can finally dance on pointe! Julia has participated in East Central Ohio Dance Theater’s production of The Nutcracker several times. Favorite theatrical roles for Julia include Gracie Shinn in The Music Man and The White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland Jr.
Payton Van Nort (Aquata, Chef Louis) – Hi! My name is Payton. I am an 8th grader at Bishop Fenwick School this year. I am so excited to be involved in this production of Disney Jr. Little Mermaid; I love the music, love being on stage and am having so much fun with this cast. I have been involved in various plays at both the Renner and Zanesville Community Theater, including The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Charlotte’s Web, All Shook Up, Annie, The Fairy Tale Courtroom, Alice in Wonderland Jr. and most recently Into the Woods. I have also participated in plays at my school and with Powerhouse, Inc. I love to read, hang with friends; dance, sing and I just started learning to play the piano. Thank you for coming to the show, hope you enjoy it!
Kasie Winters (Andrina) – Kasie is 16 years old and is a Junior at West Muskingum High school. Aside from theatre.  Kasie participates in her high school choir, audition acapella choir, and plays the flute in the band. She also loves to play the piano and ukulele in her spare time. Kasie has been in a number of plays but some of her favorites are “Babes in Toyland”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “Bye Bye Birdie”. Kasie loves acting and can not wait for everyone to see the whole cast in “The Little Mermaid Junior.”
Rachel Taylor (Arista) – Rachel is 15 years old and a freshman at Bishop Rosecrans High School. She plays volleyball, as well as many instruments. Her love for music and theatre inspired her to do productions such as The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Oliver!, and Children’s Letters to God. She hopes you enjoy the show as much as she has been a part of it!
Ella Hartman (Atina) – I’m a 7th grader at Philo Junior High School. I play soccer and basketball. I also participate in plays. I’ve been in plays such as Barnum, Wizard Of Oz, Cinderella, Sound Of Music, and most recently Into The Woods. I hope you enjoy our show under the sea!
Rachelle Snyder (Adella) – Rachelle is the sixth grade at West Muskingum Middle School. She is eleven years old and this is her second production. In her first production for Powerhouse of West Muskingum, she was a villager and a whisk in Beauty and the Beast. Her other interests include basketball, volleyball, playing her saxophone and piano, and of course acting and singing. She is super excited to be playing Adella and Princess 4 in The Little Mermaid Jr!
Kennedy Hassell (Allana) – Kennedy is appearing on the ZCT stage for the first time, previously appearing in Alice in Wonderland Jr. at The Renner as a Mad Tea Party guest. She’s a big fan of Netflix, make-up, Disney, and theater.
Grace Johnson (Ariel) – Grace is a 14 year old freshman at TVHS. She is excited to be performing back on the same stage where she made her acting debut at age five in “Our Town”. She was last seen at ZCT as “Annie” in 2011. Since then, she has been privileged to perform in over 20 productions on various stages in Central Ohio including Weathervane Playhouse, CATCO is Kids, Columbus Children’s Theatre, and Short North Stage. She is a student at Movement on Main where she studies ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance.
Coen Cox (Flounder) – Coen has had so much fun playing Flounder in The Little Mermaid. He is excited to perform his first ever solo ‘She’s in Love’. Coen is a 6th grader at Philo Jr. High School and the son of Shane and Erin Cox. This is his 7th theatrical production. Most significantly he played ‘Billy’ in “On Golden Pond” at The Renner and was ‘Dan’ in “Cheaper by the Dozen” last summer here at The Zanesville Community Theater. He hopes you enjoy the show.
Jadyn Hendershott (Scuttle) – After appearances in Oliver!, Charlotte’s Web, Angel Tree, The Little Princess and Alice in Wonderland Jr., Jadyn now feels right at home on the stage and is delighted to have her first principal role. She’s very excited to be part of this show. It is especially fun since she gets to do the show with her little sisters, Cadence and Alonna as well as her many new theater friends. When she isn’t practicing for Little Mermaid Jr., she enjoys playing the trumpet, reading and all things high tech; though theater is at the top of the list.
Madison Burtnett (Lilly Gull) – I am 10 years old. I love singing, acting, and dancing. I have performed at Secrest Auditorium several times as well as at numerous local events and at church with my twin sister and older brother. My debut with acting was in the Alice In Wonderland Jr in which I played a squid and also did a lot of backup singing. I also dance with the competition team at Melissa Marie School of Dance. I love performing! Thank you for coming to watch Little Mermaid Jr.
Reese Kornokovich (Milly Gull) -Reese is elated for her acting debut at the Zanesville Community Theater as Milly Gull in The Little Mermaid. Reese is in 2nd grade at New Concord Elementary. Reese has also been a Baby Spider in Charlotte’s Web and a Lady Bug in Alice in Wonderland. When not on stage, Reese loves reading, making arts and crafts, traveling, Girl Scouts, swimming and taking care of her pets from her tiny birds to her two gigantic Saint Bernards! Reese wants to express sincere gratitude to her Stupendous Super Sparkly Directors, Crew and the Talented Actors in the Little Mermaid who have made her experience magical. Enjoy the Show! SQUAWK!
Anna Pitcock (Tilly Gull, Sailor) – Anna is a fourth grader at Maysville. Acting since the age of four, her favorite performances include Alice in Wonderland (Little Alice), Peter Pan (Fawn), Charlotte’s Web (Lamb), and Willy Wonka (squirrel). She is very excited to be in her first show at ZCT! She is a student at Movement on Main dance studio where she takes ballet and tumbling classes. Anna’s other interests are drawing, writing poetry, and pug dogs.
Katelyn Baughman (Ursula) – Katelyn is thrilled to welcome you “Poor Unfortunate Souls” to The Little Mermaid, Jr.! Katelyn is 14 years old and attends Crooksville High School. She fell in love with theatre at age 5, when she 1st appeared at ZCT as a member of the chorus in Fiddler on the Roof. Other productions she has participated in since then include the title roles in Annie (ZCT) and Charlotte’s Web (Renner), Wait Until Dark (Renner), 9 to 5 The Musical (ZCT), A Little Princess (ZCT), A Little Night Music (Renner), HONK (ZCT), M*A*S*H (ZCT), The Hollow (ZCT), nine Angel Tree Benefits (ZCT/Renner), Back to the Garden (Shadowbox Live) and more. She is also currently rehearsing Tenshu Monogatari at Shadowbox Live, which will run the month of October in Columbus. Katelyn is extremely grateful to all those who have helped her learn and grow in theatre and performance and sends special thanks to Sarah Gantzer, Jillian Von Gunten and Sheryl Wise for providing her the opportunity to play Ursula, her first villainous role!
Abby Robbins (Ursula’s Tentacles) – Abby, age 6, is extremely excited to be a part of the Little Mermaid Jr. cast! Abby lives in Zanesville, Ohio with her parents, five cats, five cows, two dogs and countless chickens. Abby is attending West Muskingum kindergarten this year. She loves to learn, play and make new friends. Abby take ballet at Movement on Main. Former productions that Abby has been a member in, include: The Nutcracker 2013 (mouse), The Nutcracker 2014 (gingerbread), The Angel Tree (2014), Alice in Wonderland Jr. (2015) as well as The Little Mermaid Jr. (2015). All aforementioned programs were local productions through Movement on Main, The Renner Theater and Zanesville Community Theater. Abby is best known around home for her “opra-ing”, spontaneous dance parties, her interpretive dance and her inclination to just sing her thoughts as if she were living in a musical. Abby has recently shown an interest in percussion, and at this time, Abby’s parents are still “considering” a drum set.
Sydney Marsh (Ursula’s Tentacles) – Hi, my name is Sydney Marsh and I am six years old. I will be going into 1st grade at New Concord Elementary in August. I live with my mom, dad and baby brother, Connor. He is two and a half years old and is my favorite little person. He is my bff. One of my favorite things to do is to play outdoors with my two dogs. My other favorite things are swimming and singing. When I was YOUNGER, I wanted to be a unicorn when I grew up. Then I wanted to be a mermaid. Now when I grow up I want to be an artist. This is my very first play and I am excited (because I get to wear make up) and a little nervous. I hope you enjoy the show.
Alonna Hendershott (Ursula’s Tentacles) – Since her marquis performance of Dinah the cat in Alice in Wonderland Jr., Alonna has been looking forward to working on Little Mermaid with this wonderful cast. Sharing the stage again with her big sisters, Cadence and Jadyn, and her new theater friends is wonderful. When she’s not busy with Ursula’s motivation, Alonna takes ballet classes and adores reading, cooking and baking, and playing teacher.
Jordyn Fields (Ursula’s Tentacles) – Jordyn is a first grader at Crooksville Elementary and is so excited to be a part of The Little Mermaid as Ursula’s tentacle. She loves to read and do anything artistic and enjoys playing with her little brother and sister.
Cadence Hendershott (Flotsam) – After “treading the boards” in Oliver!, Angel Tree and The Little Princess, Cadence is thrilled to be part of this cast. Like her sisters, Jadyn and Alonna, she feels being in a show with her sisters and her theater friends is really cool. She’s especially excited to be paired up with one of her “besties”, Maddie, as half of Ursula’s minion duo. Cadence is an avid reader and loves shopping, singing and dancing.
Madeline Charlotte Gantzer (Jetsam) – Madeline is a 4th grader at John McIntire Elementary. Maddie has performed in The Music Man, Peter Pan Jr., and Alice in Wonderland Jr. She loves performing on stage and also loves Girl Scouts and soccer. She really loves the directors of The Little Mermaid Jr. , and has loved hanging with “Sparkle Sister” Cady who is playing Flotsam!
Ellie-Anne Jones (Carlotta) – Ellie-Anne is 15 years old, she attends Bishop Rosecrans High School. She enjoys poetry.
Kiersten Allen (Harp) – Hi! My name is Kiersten Allen. I am a 6th grader at John McIntire Elementary School. Theater is so much fun! I get to act and be with my friends! I’ve been in Music Man, Peter Pan Jr., Angel Tree and Alice in Wonderland Jr. I’m super excited to go Under the Sea in The Little Mermaid
Amber Allen (Bass) – Hi! My name is Amber Allen. I am a 8th grader at Zanesville Middle School. I enjoy being apart of this great cast and crew of The Little Mermaid. I’ve also been in Music Man, Peter Pan Jr., Angel Tree, Alice in Wonderland Jr. and Baker Street Irregulars at my school.
Sophie Stevens (Jellyfish 1) – Sophie is 12 years old and is a 7th grader at Bishop Fenwick Middle School, where she is involved in soccer, basketball, and track. She also enjoys playing on her travel soccer team, which she has been apart of for the last 4 years. She has always enjoyed art and most of all loves to sing!!! She sings at St.Thomas Aquinas, while attending her weekly mass for Bishop Fenwick. This is her first production, she has enjoyed every minute of it and is looking forward to performing again!
Emma Conkle (Jellyfish 2) – I’m interested in basketball and singing. On my free time I’d sing for no reason or play with my dog, sometimes I’d go on a bike ride. I go to Zanesville city schools (JME)and I’m going in the sixth grade. This is my very first play and I’m excited for this really cool experience. I wanted to be in a play because my friend was in it and my family and I thought it would be a good way to start singing out of the house and in public. Other than doing plays I’ve loved designing and organizing things my own way. I have 2 brothers and 1 sister, and their all in college so it gives me a chance to act and sing with no distractions at home.
Maddie Atkins (Newt) – I go to Zanesville Middle School. I’m 13 years old. I love cheerleading and track. I enjoy singing along to The Little Mermaid. I’ve been in other plays including, The Angel Tree and Alice in Wonderland.
Katie Anderson (Carp) – Hello, my name is Katie Anderson. I go to Zanesville Middle School and I am 13 years old. I enjoy doing plays and running in track. I also love to sing along to the Little Mermaid songs, especially Under the Sea. I have done a lot of Christmas plays at my church
Eden Brown (Plaice) – Eden is a sixth grader at Nashport Elementary. She enjoys dancing, cheerleading and theatre. This is Eden’s second play and she is excited to be a part of this amazing world.
Calista Tippet (Chub) – Calista is appearing in her first production at ZCT. She attends Tri-Valley. She likes music and hanging out with her friends.
Caleb Silvia (Fluke) – Caleb is an 11 year old sixth grader at West Muskingum Middle School. He has been involved in theater since the age of 5, when he made his acting debut as Toto in the Wizard of Oz. His other shows include Oliver!, Children’s Letters to God, Sweeney Todd – School Edition, and Peter Pan, Jr. Caleb’s favorite character portrayed to date was Chip, in his most recent show, Beauty & the Beast. In addition to acting, he enjoys singing, playing piano, photography and participating in SPARKS, Jr. (Improv). Caleb recently started his own non-profit organization, Caleb Cares 4 Kids, which provides gifts and financial support to pediatric hospital patients.
Parker Lanning (Starfish) – Parker Julia Lanning, age 5, is the daughter of Jason & Danielle Lanning. This is her second foray into acting, having previously played the role of an oyster in Alice in Wonderland. She has just started kindergarten at Falls Elementary, is an avid Columbus Blue Jackets fan and enjoys gymnastics, dancing, singing, arts & crafts, and theatre.
Allie Brown (Starfish) – Allie is in Kindergarten at Nashport Elementary. She enjoys gymnastics and theatre. This is Allie’s second play and she is excited to be a starfish and dance on stage.

Production Staff

Jillian B. Von Gunten (Co-Director) – Jillian has participated in local Theatre all of her life and currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors for Zanesville Community Theatre. Some of her favorite roles include: Maggie in “A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” Alais in “The Lion in Winter,” Nancy in “OLIVER,” Barbara Fordham in “August: Osage County,” and The Witch in “Into the Woods” all at Zanesville Community Theatre, and Stella Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and Suzy Hendrix in “Wait Until Dark,” at The Renner. Some of her favorite shows to direct were: “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” “HONK,” “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” and “Rumors.” Jillian currently serves as the Coach for Powerhouse’s SPARKS!! Improv Troupe and sits on both the McIntire Terrace Association and the Southeast Ohio Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors. She works in Zanesville as an attorney at Allen & Baughman, Attorneys at Law. Jillian is thrilled to have had the opportunity to direct this show with her best friend Sarah, with her dear friends Sheryl Wise in charge of music, and Pam Smith as the Producer. She knew from the beginning Team Mermaid was destined for magical success! As usual, this show is the product of so many people’s hard work, those already mentioned, as well as the Underwood family, Jan Kiikka, Rebecca Wagstaff, and all of those listed here in the program. We couldn’t have done it without every member of this cast and crew. It was practically perfect in every way.
Sarah Gantzer (Co-Director) – Sarah is a mother of 3, and wife to Jared, her high school sweetheart. She is a 1st grade teacher for Zanesville City Schools, and volunteers for The East Central Ohio Dance Theatre Group, Movement on Main Center for Dance, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, and R.O.S.A. soccer. This is Sarah’s directorial debut at Zanesville Community Theatre. Previously she directed Alice in Wonderland the Home of the Zane Trace Players, The Renner Theatre, in downtown Zanesville.  Sarah will also be directing the upcoming Fall play at Zanesville High School.  She has enjoyed many roles onstage, including Rapunzel in Into the Woods, Marian the Librarian in The Music Man, Gerda Christow in The Hollow, and Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible.  Sarah’s next theatrical endeavor is ZCT’s upcoming thriller Murder on the Nile, in which she will portray Kay Ridgeway. She is as “pleased as punch” to have brought this show to the ZCT stage, as Ariel has always been one of her favorite princesses, and because it meant directing alongside her best friend Jillian. Her heart is ever sparkly because of the hard work and dedication of the cast and crew involved in Team Mermaid.

When we first started talking about directing together, we knew we had to do Disney, and we couldn’t be happier to dive “Under the Sea” with this amazing group of kiddos! The Little Mermaid holds a special place in both of our hearts, being the first Disney movie Jillian saw in the movie Theatre, and the fact that as a child, Sarah adored the ginger-haired mermaid princess. It made perfect sense to collaborate on this special show together. We have loved singing, dancing, and playing with this cast and crew, and are absolutely thrilled that audiences get to be a “Part of Our World” this September! Our hope is that you leave the Theatre humming, and that you can take a bit of Disney Magic with you back to the surface. Thank you so much for supporting these awesome children and families, and for supporting Zanesville Community Theatre!

Sarah and Jillian

Sheryl Wise (Music Director) – Sheryl has recently moved to a new phase of life, as she is now semi-retired after working for Franklin Local Schools for the past 35 years. During that time she served as a music teacher, technology coordinator, and directed the high school theater department. This fall, she will continue teaching theater at Philo High School but will be enjoying sleeping in a little and having more time for other pursuits. She plans to work on several projects that have been left undone at her house and hopefully read a book or two. But, she will still be quite active on church and civic boards, teaching voice and piano, and as church organist at Market Street Baptist Church. She shares her home with her Mom and lots of cats.She has been involved in numerous shows at ZCT as well as Licking County Players, Cambridge Performing Arts Center, Philo Players and Zane Trace Players. Some of her favorite onstage roles include Mrs. Lovett in Sweeny Todd, The Reverend Mother in several versions of the Nunsensations series, and many characters in The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged. Some of her favorite directing experiences have been Noises Off, The Odd Couple, Nine to Five, and Little Shop of Horrors. She is looking forward to working on several shows this next season between ZCT, Zane Trace Players, and Philo High School.

Sheryl thanks you for supporting the arts in our area.


Call the Box Office at 740.455.6487 to reserve or order on-line
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