Players Theatre Presents THE LITTLE MERMAID Through 4/27

In 1837 Hans Christian Anderson wrote his most beloved tale "The Little Mermaid". 177 years later she is still swimming her way into the hearts of young and old. On February 16th, Literally Alive Children's Theatre will open their musical adaptation of this classic tale with books and lyrics by Brenda Bell and music by Michael Sgouros at the Players Theatre located at 115 MacDougal Street (between Bleeker and West 3rd) in Manhattan. Their adaptation is true to the original story by Hans Christian Andersen, unlike the Disney version, which has a different ending. "We tell the story in its original form" says Artistic Director Brenda Bell, "We believe that the true ending shows children that every wish has a price and that love comes with many sacrifices."

While the production embraces the serious message Andersen intended it is far from a somber affair. Parents, as well as their young companions, will appreciate the live percussion ensemble that accompanies the show in full view of the audience. "We feel offering children the opportunity to experience the music being played as part of the show will inspire a life-long love for music" commented composer Michael Sgouros, whose 16-year old daughter, Emily, plays in the pit with him. "Literally Alive productions will always feature two things, live percussion music and beautiful dancing" added Ms. Bell. "This is something unique that Michael and I contribute to the shows as a reflection of our own lives". Ms. Bell started as a dancer and Mr. Sgouros is a percussionist. "The Little Mermaid" includes over 16 musical or dance numbers. In addition to a professional principle cast, the show features an exceptional dance ensemble, under the direction of choreographer Holly Kerr, who create a multitude of interesting creatures including seaweed, spirits of the air and sea serpents. Some underwater scenes incorporate an old vaudeville technique called "Black Art Theatre" which allows creatures to seem to be swimming onstage.

Everyone enjoys the antics of the outrageous mermaid sisters, Coral (the little mermaid), Shelly and Pearl, a lovable trio featured in numbers like "Deep Sea Blues" and "Longing to See Anything but Sea". No telling of "The Little Mermaid" would be complete without the evil Fish-witch; the "Diva of the Deep". In this version, the character is portrayed by Eric Fletcher, who belts out the showstopper "Misunderstood". Choreographed by Emmanuelle Zeesman, "Misunderstood" features a Lady Gaga-like number that leaves the audience ready to dance in the aisle. Andy DeRado plays the loving father, King Neptune. Parents will easily identify with the trials he endures while raising his six mermaid princesses. He tries to offer valuable advice in "Pearls of Wisdom" and reflects on the laughter and tears of parenthood in "Loving and Letting go".

Prior to each performance, families' may participate in an arts workshop. Here the audience discovers how different art forms bring literature to life. They learn some of the movement and music from the show and create a sea creature that glows in the dark. Coupled with the show, this two-hour experience adds up to an afternoon treasure for the entire family.

"The Little Mermaid" runs through April 27th on Saturdays (11a & 3p) and Sundays (11a), with special holiday matinees on February 20th and April 17th. The pre-show workshop begins one hour prior to each performance at the Players Theatre located at 115 MacDougal Street. Tickets are $25 -$45. For more information visit: www.literallyalive.com.

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