Carmel youth to get another turn as Nemo


Lucas Freitas had a “fin-up” on being cast as Nemo. After all, he had already played the clownfish.

Freitas, who will be a sixth-grader at Carmel Middle School in August, will play Nemo in Civic Theatre’s production of “Finding Nemo Jr.” The performances are June 21-26 at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

Freitas, 11, played Nemo in Forest Dale Elementary School’s production of “Finding Nemo,” so he figured he should audition for the role.

“It’s my first time at Civic and I’ve had a lot of fun so far,” Freitas said. “Getting to play Nemo is so much fun. I’ve watched the movie thousands of times. It might even be millions. I’ve lost track.”

Jack McNally, who will be a Carmel High School freshman, is cast as Nemo’s father, Marlin.

“It’s one of the first times I’ve played an anxious character who is worried for the whole show,” McNally said. “Most of the time I play comic relief characters. It gives me a new perspective because I have to worry about Nemo the entire show. I’m having to change the way I act in order to do it.”

McNally said he enjoys working with Freitas, and the costume is more conceptual. 

“There is a little more acting to show the costume because it’s not a full costume and the audience has to use its imagination,” McNally said.

McNally was previously in Civic Theatre’s main stage shows of “The Sound of the Music” and “Elf.” He was in the Junior Civic presentation of “Newsies.”

Matilda Hayes, who will be a North Central High School freshman, plays Dory. Hayes said it has been a great opportunity to expand her comedic timing.

Hayes, who has been with Junior Civic for eight years, said the role is her biggest yet.

Her favorite song is “Go with the Flow.”

“I feel like that song is perfect in my range,” she said. “Both parts of ‘Just Keep Swimming’ are so much fun to do energy wise.”

Hayes said the cast is a good mix of performers she has worked with for several years and some new ones.

There are 39 members in the cast. Director Brent E. Marty said he chose not to do full costumes because the focus is on the story.

“It could be taking place in any situation, it doesn’t have to be deep in the ocean,” Marty said. “It could be a parent, a child and a friend in any situation.”

The musical was released as a show that could be performed in 2023. Following the 2003 animated movie, the production is based on a Disney theme park show.

“The show has a great message about family connection and inclusion,” Marty said. “Nemo has his lucky fin and it’s a little thin and how he is able to survive and get by in the world. Dory has her memory issues.”

YAP show set

This is the largest cast Civic’s Young Artists Program has had for “REVUE!.” There are 18 performers from 14 different high schools around central Indiana. The performances are at 6 and 8 p.m. at the Studio Theater at the Center for the Performing Arts.

“We considered a smaller cast, but eight are ‘REVUE!’ alum, so we decided to go big,’” director/choreographer Kenny Shepard said. “The opener is ‘Once in a Lifetime,’ which to me says it all, and these 16 are embracing the opportunity to share their unique stories one night only. The cast also talks and sings about best friends, parents, dreams for their futures, and a fun section called ‘BOB,’ where they relive situations with some unpleasant people in their lives that we call ‘Bob!’

“We’re keeping the show a little lighter this year, although we have a brave and strong cast member, Austin Lizama from Zionsville who wanted to share his story about grief and, as he says, ‘Maturing by experience versus by age.'”