ParkTalk Podcast
ParkTalk Blog
  • 630-848-5000
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Participation Guidelines. More information regarding the District’s response can be found here

“The Little Mermaid” Comes to the Naperville Stage

The cast of “The Little Mermaid” tried on their costumes for the first time during one of their many December rehearsals, and waves of excitement broke into dancing, twirling and laughing as the show took one step closer to opening night, which is Friday, January 12, 2018.

Suzanne Reeves twirled in her jellyfish costume

Director Kris Visher (right) talks with the maids

Behind the scenes with Ariel and Prince Eric

Isabella Newhuis and Brett Baleskie are Ariel and Prince Eric

I always loved Disney, and Ariel was my dream role,” said Isabella Newhuis, who is a senior at Benet Academy.  “I remember attending a Naperville Park District musical comedy theater summer camp and we did The Little Mermaid Jr.  I played a Flounder. I fell in love with the music.  The whole cast painted the background; it was so much fun.”

King Triton and Ariel

Isabella was first cast in a Magical Starlight Theatre production—“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” — when she was in fourth grade. Since then, she has played lead roles such as Hodel in “Fiddler on the Roof” in community theater and Mini in “Hello Dolly” at Benet Academy.  She also is a national champion figure skater and hopes to engage her skating friends to help her memorize her lines. downtime at practices.

Ariel and her sisters

Brett Baleskie started acting with Magical Starlight Theatre in “Snow White” in 2004, when he was a sophomore at Naperville North High School. “He went off to college and then came back,” said Director Kris Visher. “We’re just like a big family, and so glad to have our college graduates return.”

Ariel, King Triton and Prince Eric

This year, for the first time, Brett is choreographing the show as well as playing a lead role. “Finding time to do everything is a challenge,” he said. “The choreography tells the story visually.  And I also needed to get to know the prince.”  He is looking forward to having some downtime during the holidays to focus on his script.

Family ties

Magical Starlight Theatre welcomes multiple family members to participate in its shows, and “The Little Mermaid” is no exception.

North Central College senior and musical theater major Josh Dennison is excited about this year’s performance because it’s his younger brother, Ethan’s first time in a Magical Starlight Theatre show. “I play a manta ray and he’s chief merman and a sailor. We are having a blast.”

Ethan and Josh Dennison

Josh completed his first two years of college at College of DuPage (COD). “When I started at COD I hadn’t done a community theater show. My dad recommended that I audition for Magical Starlight Theatre’s ‘Peter Pan.’  I got to be a pirate and have been in Magical Starlight Theatre shows ever since. It really does feel like a big family. I made so many new friends—and have been back ever since.”

“The Little Mermaid” Performance Schedule

Opening night is Friday, January 12, 2018 at Naperville Central High School Auditorium, located at 440 W. Aurora Ave.  Click here for a full schedule of performance dates and times.

Tickets are on sale for $12 online, by phone and at any Park District facility until 4:00 p.m. on the Friday of the weekend performances. After that time, you may purchase tickets at the door for $15.

We hope to see you there!


The full cast rehearses the finale on Dec. 12, 2017

Connect your business’s brand with a well-known and respected one like
the Naperville
Park District’s and reach a large, active and diverse audience.

To learn more about our sponsorship opportunities
contact Stacey Fontechia Sales and Sponsorship Manager at 630-848-3575 or at
Please consider making a donation of any amount to our Fee Assistance Program.
Your contribution will help Naperville residents in need enjoy the benefits of recreation programs.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
© 2021 Naperville Park District