Music by Alan Menken.
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater.
Book by Doug Wright.
Directed by Amber Mak.
Produced by Paramount Theater, Aurora.
The Little Mermaid is “Fin-tastic.”
My 10 year old daughter Ella said, “This show is not only fin-tastic it is also fin-nominal!” I asked her if she read that somewhere, but she said she made it up so there you have it! I have to agree! Ariel, Prince Eric, Flounder, Scuttle, Sebastian and the full-orchestra will have you booking your next trip to “Under the Sea” in no time!
Without question, The Little Mermaid at Paramount is no less than astounding! Based on the 1989 Disney film and original story by Hans Christian Andersen, this show is directed and choreographed by Amber Mak, music direction by Tom Vendafreddo and the beautiful under-seas puppetry design by Jesse Mooney-Bullock, fantastic costume design by the amazing Theresa Ham. This tale will appeal as much to adults as it does to children.
This is the story of Ariel (Kari Yancy), who is delightful, wonderfully talented, and a little bit rebellious young lady who dwells in an underwater kingdom with her very powerful father, King Triton (Evan Tyrone Martin) and is the youngest of a six (might I say jealous, yet fabulous) sisters. Ariel longs to experience what it would be like if only she had legs and could live and love among the human world. One day while swimming near the surface with her friend Flounder (very nicely dually played by Ricky Falbo and Murphy Byrne) she notices ever so charming and talented Prince Eric (Devin DeSantis) and immediately falls for him. Well good timing since he is told he needs to be married off in a matter of 3 days by his faithful guardian Grimsby (George Keating). The prince fell too, only it was off the ship during a powerful storm and Ariel saves him and brings him safely to the shore. He doesn’t realize that it was Ariel that saved him, but does recognize the beautiful singing voice when he hears it. And so the plot thickens! In order for Ariel to see the prince again she must leave the sea and become human. Only one person can help her with that and it is her evil Aunt Ursula (Christina Hall) and her slick cohorts Flotsam (Adam Fane) and Jetsam (John Adam Keating) and so they lure her into the world of darkness. We all know the grass is not always greener….well neither are the waves any more calm once Ariel lands on her own two feet-since she had to trade her beautiful voice for legs! Thank goodness for good friends like the very humorous Scuttle (Michael Ehlers) and the lovable, wonderful, show-stopping Sebastian (Jonathon Butler-Duplessis) to always have her back. They spend time teaching her how to how to walk with her new legs and dance and even how to fall in love!
The ever talented George Keating appears again as Chef Louis in Les Poissons which is a very fun musical number (I did not even know that was him until I read the Playbill—he is that good). Other favorite songs include: She’s in Love, Under the Sea, Positoovity, Kiss the Girl, The Contest and Finale Ultimo of course!
This is a story of unconditional love of a child and knowing when to let go. It is also a story of fitting in and moving out of situations that don’t feel right and exploring the unknown. Who knew that Little Mermaid had such a lesson to teach? This is one of my favorite Disney movies not only for the wonderful musical numbers, but for the lesson that it teaches. Find your voice and the rest will follow!
We explore a fantasy underwater world complete with all of the characters as puppets with their humans and also visit jellyfish, starfish and many fantastic sea creatures. Ariel is hoisted from the sea to land in just one magical moment and transforms from a mermaid to a human right before our very eyes.
The entire ensemble was extremely strong! Great acting, singing, costumes, puppets, props, wigs, make-up, set design, projections, lighting this show is flawless! I will have vivid memories of this show for years to come. My daughter said she would like to give it 64 million stars and also said it was the best show she has EVER seen! Kudos to Artistic Director Jim Corti–you never cease to amaze your audience!
One final word, WOW!
For more information, see The Little Mermaid’s page at www.theatreinchicago.com.
At the Paramount Theatre 23 E Galena Blvd, Aurora, IL. Call 630-896-6666, www.paramountaurora.com,
Tickets $44 – $59 running time is approximately 2 hours 25 minutes including one 15 minute intermission, through Jan 15, 2017