Earlier this month, Seattle writer Tierra Johnson, attended the press opening of Disney’s The Little Mermaid at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle on behalf of I am the Maven®. Her review is below.
It was magical. It was picturesque.The lobby was filled with young girls and their mothers dressed up to attend a special event. Just walking up to the 5th Ave theater, you could tell it was a special event. After all, Disney’s The Little Mermaid is kind of a big deal. It’s been a big deal since it’s animated debut in 1989. All 30 something year olds know it’s not something you ever grow out of. This was apparent for many people filling the auditorium of all ages including a grown man is a full on sequined tux with a Mickey Mouse ears on top of his head… who just so happened to be seated behind you and put your self- proclaimed childlike excitement to shame. The orchestra begins to play and The Little Mermaid comes to life.
The staging and props were amazing, colorful waves and mermaid fins made of silk. Seattle native, Diana Huey captured the girl like adventure of Ariel, including the head strong and sweet side of her. It seemed that everyone sat there wide eyed and delighted by her, yet waiting to hear her belt out “Part of your world” before they would give her the seal of approval. That she earned. The casting was simply amazing. All of them with great singing voices and stage presence. The focus on individuality as opposed to rendering a duplicate of the original story paid off. The playful jokes and shout outs to other Disney character were well received and the fan favorite of the night was Melvin Abston as Sebastian the crab in his performance of “Under the Sea” which was something out of Bourbon street during Mardi Gras.
Another favorite was Ursula believe it or not. Jennifer Allen served as the wicked, satire filled sea witch and dug into the role. She maintained the evil glow but also brought a sense of humor to Ursula making the mean character much more easy to watch for young children. You will find part of the original story omitted in the musical regarding Ursula and this is another great example of how the directors and writers “trimmed the fat” from the back story and gave the people want they really wanted.
A love story.
Ariel and Prince Eric’s (Matthew Kacergis) romance came to life in more than one scene. From the end of act one through to the end of the show. If you ever believed that fairytale love could be true through the movie, Diana & Matthew make Ariel & Eric’s story unfold through a dynamic chemistry on stage. One really couldn’t help but have a few tears well up during their “wedding/ sail off into paradise scene.”
Overall the production is a huge success, introducing many young girls to the magic of the Disney renaissance which was the magic of Ariel and also giving us “older” kids a chance to relive one of our favorites whether we wore sequins or not.
The Little Mermaid runs through December 31, 2016. Buy tickets for The Little Mermaid online or at the 5th Avenue Theatre box office.