Paige Klemenhagen, a senior at Stillwater Area High School, rehearses for a production of the Little Mermaid with Open Door Community Theater. 

Paige Klemenhagen, a senior at Stillwater Area High School, is taking her passion for acting and putting into her lead role as Ariel in Open Door Community Theatre upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid.”

“I truly believe that this is going to be an unbelievable show. The amount of effort and determination that not only the directing team has, but also the cast, is unreal,” Klemenghagen said. “Everyone is putting their all into this show and it is going to be magical. The cast consists of a variety of ages so that really provides a differentiation of talent and character.”

Open Door launched in 2019 and is notorious for bringing together local talent to provide high-caliber productions to the community, all while giving back to local nonprofits. Similar to other community theatres and arts organizations, Open Door paused production during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This will be their first show in front of a live audience in more than two years.

Justin Madsen, the Little Mermaid’s director was impressed by Klemenhagen’s talents.

“Paige is a dream to work with. She is everything a director would look for. She has unparalleled talent and an incredible work ethic,” Madsen said. “Beyond all of that, she has a heart of gold.”

“Ariel is a big role and the script calls for her to be a teenager and it was great that we found someone who had the talent and ability to pull off this role at age 18,” Madsen added. “Paige brings sunshine into the room when she walks in and the cast really benefits from her work ethic and desire to connect with everyone.”

Both Klemenhagen and Madsen believe “The Little Mermaid” is going to be a summer show people won’t want to miss.

“The amount of talent both on and off stage is something that I’ve never experienced in a community theatre setting before” Madsen said. I’m really excited to share this production with the community this summer.”

Klemenhagen fell in love with musical theater at 8-years-old, and has been performing ever since. Through musical theater she also found her love for classical music.

In her free time, Klemenhagen sings at nursing homes and plays in quartets. She also fosters dogs during the summer.

She believes that she has been blessed in life and aims to give back whenever she has the chance.

Klemenhagen and her four younger siblings have formed a love for musical theatre throughout the years. Through music and theatre, they have been able to bond and form even deeper relationships.

“I’m very passionate about music and in my mind I feel like everyone has a gift,” Klemenhagen said. “When I was little I used to take a whisk and pretend it was my microphone. My parents were not musical since they both played sports as kids, so my pursuing this introduced my family to a whole new world.”

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