Disney’s The Little Mermaid – An Atlanta Theater Fans Review

Alan Mingo, Jr. as Sebastian and Jessica Grové as Ariel and the cast of The Little Mermaid. Photo by Bruce Bennett, courtesy of Houston TUTS

Alan Mingo, Jr. as Sebastian and Jessica Grové as Ariel and the cast of The Little Mermaid. Photo by Bruce Bennett, courtesy of Houston TUTS

For some families, it has been a long wait to see Disney’s The Little Mermaid onstage at the Fox Theatre. When they do see it, they will be amazed at the splendor and talent in the show.

The musical contains the same plot elements as the classic Disney film. Ariel longs to be a part of the human world and eventually falls in love with a human, Prince Eric. Angry at her father, she falls victim to the schemes of the sea witch Ursula, who strikes a deal with her to give up her voice to be human. Prince Eric must kiss Ariel in three days or else Ursula will own her soul.

The Broadway show, which played 685 performances and 50 previews, didn’t connect well with audiences, so Disney and the creative team for this production have reimagined the show, and each detail works well to capture the magic of movie.

Along with new songs, all of the classic songs that you love to sing along with are in the show – “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World.” One of the new songs, “Her Voice,” sung by Eric Kunze (Prince Eric) is one of the musical’s most beautiful and moving songs. Kunze’s voice is like honey. It is one of the best numbers in the show.

Fox Theatre presents The Little Mermaid

Scott Leiendecker and Ben Roseberry as Flotsam and Jetsam. Liz McCartney as Ursula. Photo by Bruce Bennett, courtesy of Houston TUTS

Another stand out performance is Liz McCartney as Ursula. Clearly earning the most enthusiastic applause of the curtain call, McCartney has the powerful voice and stage presence to match the larger-than-life character. Her performance of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” is thrilling.

As Ariel, Jessica Grové is enchanting. When she sings “Part of this World,” her voice floats on the music effortlessly. She is likeable and carries the show well. Likewise, Alan Mingo, Jr., takes Sebastian and makes him just as much of a crowd-pleaser with his funny and charming portrayal.

The staging of the show works well with the flying effects to simulate swimming and the brilliant choreography by John MacInnis makes the characters seem as though they are actually in the water. The set, while missing the Disney polish, creates a warm, playful atmosphere (except when in Urlsula’s lair), but what makes the visuals amazing is the bright, colorful costumes by Amy Clark and Mark Moss.

The Little Mermaid at the Fox Theatre

Jessica Grové as Ariel. Photo by Bruce Bennett, courtesy of Houston TUTS

One of the only disappointments of the staging is the “Under the Sea” number. While it is a rousing sequence, the number isn’t the showstopper that it could be, lacking the spectacle of Beauty and the Beast’s “Be Our Guest” or The Lion King’s “Circle of Life.”

Whether you are a fan of the film or have a little one who adores Ariel, Disney’s The Little Mermaid promises a fun and enjoyable night at the theater for the whole family. Part of the Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta Series, Disney’s The Little Mermaid runs through July 13, 2014 at the Fox Theatre. For more information, please visit http://www.broadwayinatlanta.com/. Tickets are available online, at the Fox Theatre box office or by phone at 855-285-8499. The show’s runtime is around two and half hours with an intermission.

– Kenny Norton