This post is exciting because it is my first review of an actual Broadway musical! As I mentioned in a previous blog, writing for and about the arts is my ultimate dream goal, so getting to start it so soon is such a great feeling!
There is something so magical about the build up to a show starting. It is almost as magical as how the show itself makes me feel. Everyone is rushing around to find their seats and excitement is just floating throughout the whole building. Going to Broadway is a special event, one people save up for, get excited for, and look their best for. Personally, I love the feeling of being surrounded by a thousand people who love and appreciate the arts like I do.
I attend the show by myself because hello, I am an independent woman who enjoys experiencing things on her own. I get to my seat that is located in house center behind the orchestra. I have my notebook and pen ready, and I can’t wait to see what this production makes me feel. It may sound odd, but I love how the arts make me feel, because it has never been anything other than amazing.
The final show bells go off and the lights dim. The ensemble starts to run through a condensed version of the music used in the show. I am a sucker for orchestra music so I have goosebumps only a couple minutes in.
The first thing I noticed once the show actually starts is all of the detail put into the set. It truly felt as if we were under the sea. The details in the costumes were remarkable. Also, major shoutout to the cast members who played parts under water. They constantly moved their arms back and forth to mimic swimming, and all I could think about was how sore their arms had to have been when rehearsals first started. The movement of their arms and costumes were perfect for the setting and theme. Ursula’s cove felt like a completely different theatre. Lights were projected on the walls and it really felt as if we were deep in the dark ocean.
Being a huge Disney fanatic like myself, I was expecting the show to follow the exact movie storyline and have the same music. However, this wasn’t the case and I am so glad that it wasn’t. It kept me guessing and so intrigued, it was like I was seeing it for the very first time.
I cannot possibly write about The Little Mermaid without addressing the amount of fishy puns that were very thoughtfully placed in this production. They were awesome! This show definitely had some major comedy elements and it kept everyone laughing. I will say though, Sebastian (Melvin Abston) and the Chef (Dane Stokinger) who attempted to cook him were the number one reason for all of the laughs. Flounder (KC Fredericks) was the cutest thing. He definitely accumulated the most “awes” in the show. The casting directors could not have picked better people to play these parts.
Of course, the best part of a musical is in fact, the music. It was beautiful. In the first act, Ariel (Diana Huey) started the show off right with a groundbreaking performance of The World Above. The mood turned more sentimental when Triton (Steve Blanchard) sang his solo of If Only and I will say that it did make me tear up. It didn’t stop there though, it was like they were trying to break my heart… Ariel broke barriers when singing her famous Part of Your World solo. The crowd simply could not cheer or clap enough. Diana Huey was perfect, and I would say she was made to play Ariel. Prince Eric (Eric Kunze), shattered my heart in his solo Her Voice. Fortunately for me, directly following that, Sebastian came out with the classic Under the Sea. Act I was closed out with Ursula (Jennifer Allen) singing Poor Unfortunate Souls. When I say Ursula brought the house down with that closing number, I mean she brought the house DOWN! Her voice is one of the most powerful I have ever heard. The crowd was going crazy and it was the perfect way to end Act I and transition into the intermission. It left everyone ready for more!
In Act II, my expectations of the music being as good as the first act were exceeded. The number I was waiting for the whole day was finally here, and it didn’t disappoint. Kiss the Girl was everything I was hoping it would be and more. Sebastian has some serious soul, really, nobody could beat Melvin Abston when it comes to this part. Emotions are running high in this part of the show anyway, and the perfect performance can seal the deal, and it did. The next number was If Only again, but this time in quartet style featuring Ariel, Prince Eric, King Triton, and Sebastian, and it was the most beautiful quartet I have ever heard. The emotion built in the song and the power of their voices were nothing short of magical.
Finally, we came to the Finale. The easiest way to describe it is by telling you to imagine a million ping pong balls bouncing all over a concrete room. Now imagine those ping pong balls contained all of the emotion that the audience possessed. That, is exactly how the atmosphere in the theatre was. With a loud boom, beautiful confetti fell from the ceiling sprinkling the audience.
It was beautiful and sad, because nobody wanted it to be over. Two and a half hours fly by when you’re in the presence of something so magical and beautiful. From the atmosphere of the audience, to the details in the sets, the outstanding cast, and to the groundbreaking performances, Disney’s The Little Mermaid was perfect. I recommend everyone see it, young or old. I promise, it will make you smile and make your heart do a little dance.
Go experience some art.