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Review: THE LITTLE MERMAID at The Premiere Playhouse

Performances run through Sunday, October 8.

By: Oct. 07, 2023
Review: THE LITTLE MERMAID at The Premiere Playhouse  Image
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THE LITTLE MERMAID at The Premiere Playhouse in Sioux Falls is a solid production, a delight for family audiences, and a celebration of the resiliency of the human spirit. This musical of the famed Disney franchise, showcases some amazing talent in our community.  The vocal power and acting chops of all these wonderfully talented individuals is artfully presented and beautifully staged.   The recorded orchestration is never overpowering and is beautifully mixed with the amplified voices onstage. 

There are so many noteworthy performances and I don’t want to miss pointing out any of the truly exceptional actors ( I think I might have said that word about 5 times in my conversation with my theatre guest last night, so I have to call it out here.)

The chorus of sailors at the top of the show is vocally powerful and their staging and blocking resembled the inner workings of a clock with its movement and the commitment from this group to create that stage picture is to be commended!  Casey Kustak as Grimsby is a comedic master, delivering lines of humorous dialogue and bits of physical humor like a pro.   I enjoyed his every appearance on the stage.  Adrian Johnson had physical and vocal command of his character as the Pilot and appeared in multiple scenes in the ensemble with equal commitment to the story his group was there to support.  Connor Klimek as Prince Eric, provided some nice contrast to the other comedic and blustering characters in this production. His gentle and calming character was a delight and his physical commitment to the blocking and staging was impeccable.

Madison Gerhart as Ariel delivers a flawless portrayal of an adorable mermaid with aspirations of living in  the “other world.”  Her authentic charm and delivery of spoken lines and her sheer vocal power and prowess are a gift for the audience to behold.  It has been a pleasure to see her blossom on the stage of TPP in each role she has portrayed over the past few years, but the role of Ariel is a triumph!  She delivers this story with passion and joy and it is a privilege of the Sioux Falls audience to behold. 

Clinton Store as King Triton does a great job of bringing his character to life with his presence, his physique, and vocal command of the essence of the King. I have enjoyed his past performances onstage at TPP, but this one checked ALL the boxes, he is magnificent in this role.  

Jessica Johannsen as Ursula, the evil and imposing sea witch was a tour de force in this role. 

She exuded such guttural and physical grinding evil with such commitment to character, and  I was a little tense in my seat at her every appearance on the stage.    

Mike Richards as Scuttle and Etta McKinley at Sebastian were “spot on” in their characterizations of their characters and brought out some really masterful vocals on the voices of their characters.  There were no slips in dialect, their performances were strong,  and it was all pure magic.

Other noteworthy and delightfully executed performances in this production were from  the vocally powerful, and sparkling presence of both Alex Van Voorhis and Kate Stahl as Ariel’s Mersisters.  Grace Kjelden as Jetsam and Samantha Davis as Flotsam delivered a stylistically seductive “Sweet Child” and were absolutely perfect as slithering bookends to the evil Ursula.  

I feel compelled to call out some ensemble members who are a delight to watch every time they appear in productions at TPP.  Christian Heiberger,  I see you, and watch you and am always impressed with your work on stage.  Hanalei Barrett, you always deliver the razzmatazz and I love watching your facial expressions. Simon Cole, your joy and commitment to character are wonderful to watch unfold on the stage. I would be remiss not to mention the “ensemble within the ensemble” of the Kustak family.   Bravo to all of you!  You made the performing arts a family affair and each of you brings artistry to your characters on stage. I was watching all of you too! 

The supporting cast in this production was all outstanding and truly embodied the look and feel of the underwater atmosphere with a diligent commitment that looked so natural and fluid.  That cohesive look and feel in this production can largely be attributed to the very successful directorial debut of Patrick Simonsen.  

It is also noteworthy to call out the technical aspects of some beautiful costumes and delightfully executed props and artful lighting and stage design, which make this the “show to see and experience” this weekend!

THE LITTLE MERMAID is a show that your entire family can feel the joy of experiencing. 

Call the Box Office at  605-367-6000 for tickets to the best show in town, and terrific triumph for The Premiere Playhouse. 


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