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INTERVIEW: Director Bethany Dellapolla Talks "The Little Mermaid" At Southampton Cultural Center

T.J. Clemente

I have admired the talents of Bethany Dellapolla over the years. For those who are not familiar with Dellapolla, she is an East End radio/stage/TV personality. She is also a warm, personable, caring and intelligent individual who loves/lives all things East End theater.

So, when she touched base with Hamptons.com because Center Stage at the Southampton Cultural Center (SCC) is presenting a staged concert version of The Little Mermaid this October, I was thrilled. This will be her first directing/choreographing project for Center Stage.

Dellapolla expressed, "I was so honored when Michael Disher asked me if I would take on the responsibility of directing The Little Mermaid!" She also said, "Michael has done so much for me, not just in theatre, but in life. He believed in me, and helped to give me a confidence I didn't always have. He has such a dignified and direct ability to bring out the best in his actors, and he always has a unique vision. I learned so much just from watching and listening to him over the years."

About the upcoming SCC production, she explained, "The Little Mermaid will be a staged concert version but also a fully blocked, choreographed, and memorized performance. It will be fewer, but more representative sets, costumes, and props. The focus therefore will be on the story, the music, and the cast members, and less on the Disney spectacle." Although she added, "We will do all the numbers, and so many of those numbers are pure magic."

Though Dellapolla has been in several shows at the Southampton Cultural Center in the past (most recently Beauty and the Beast and Reasons to Be Pretty), this show will mark her directorial debut with the Southampton Cultural Center. "I could not be more excited! The Little Mermaid is a timeless musical, and while the story may appear 'surface level,' in reality it has so much depth," she revealed.

She went on to add, "I am also pleased and proud to note that this year, the cast for The Little Mermaid will incorporate a mix of both young and adult performers - a first for a Center Stage production! Of the 20 cast members (ages 10 and up), we have 10 children/teen actors in the group that are fantastic additions to our beautiful 'under the sea' world. Together, with our adult performers, this cast will take you on a journey to the world below that will make you laugh, smile, and fall in love all over again!"

Dellapolla then went on to explain the energy that young the cast members are bringing to her and the show. "When we take a break, they are all practicing lines, songs, and dances. I feel so proud of them," she shared. "They care so much and have an enthusiasm that is so contagious. I see myself at their age, and watching all the other hard-working adult cast members too. I just can't help but give them my all. I am so grateful, and I hope to make Michael proud."

The Little Mermaid will run from Friday, October 11 through Sunday, October 27, with performances on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. I personally can't wait to witness and review Bethany Dellapolla's first directing/choreographing project for Center Stage.

Southampton Cultural Center is located at 25 Pond Lane in Southampton. For more information, visit www.scc-arts.org.

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