Interview: Savy Jackson Talks About Making Her Muny Debut as Ariel in DISNEY'S THE LITTLE MERMAID

Jackson Comes to St. Louis Fresh Off of Her Broadway Debut

By: Jul. 09, 2024
Interview: Savy Jackson Talks About Making Her Muny Debut as Ariel in DISNEY'S THE LITTLE MERMAID
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Interview: Savy Jackson Talks About Making Her Muny Debut as Ariel in DISNEY'S THE LITTLE MERMAID

Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID opened at The Muny last night for nine shows. Savy Jackson, the young actor who plays Ariel, can barely contain her excitement when talking about the grandeur of The Muny. “For years I had seen so many pictures of this magical place, but I could not believe the size of the stage,” she said with wide eyes, “It’s huge!” She said the first time she walked on the stage that she found the size of the Muny overwhelming.  

The show’s director, John Tartaglia cautioned her that she would be able to see the audiences’ faces because the show starts before nightfall. She confessed that that it was a ‘real wow moment’ yesterday when she was lifted from the pit and saw ‘all the humans’ looking back at her. But Jackson said, “I’m excited to see every single person in the audience and invite them into the story.” Jackson beamed when she talked about the number of children in the audience. “Oh my God! There were so many kids,” she exclaimed! 

Just like Ariel rising on the lift to start the show, Jackson’s career is already on the rise. After graduating from Pace University Jackson had the opportunity to lead a show on Broadway. She was hired as the alternate Cinderella in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s BAD CINDERELLA. As alternate, she played the lead role weekly at the Sunday Matinee. Jackson was making her Broadway debut, in a lead role, immediately following graduation from college. “Getting to do it once a week it helped me learn what kind of power and discipline was needed to lead a company,” she said.  

But her career started years prior to her role in BAD CINDERELLA. Between her Freshman and Sophomore year at Pace, Jackson auditioned for the national tour of the Tony Award winning revival of ONCE ON THIS ISLAND.  Jackson said, “I took a year off college to travel with the tour.” She was hired as a swing and covered nearly all of the female roles in the show, including the lead Ti Moune. “I was just 19-years old and the youngest adult cast member in the touring company.” She talked about the responsibility of understudying five roles and how much she had to learn. 

Jackson discussed the difficulty of doing a show at The Muny and having it come together in such a short time. “It’s crazy,” she laughed, “I don’t know how it is possible, but they’ve been doing it here for a century, so I put my trust in the process.” Jackson gives kudos to the amazing leadership team. She says John (the Director), Patrick (the Choreographer), and Annbritt (the Music Supervisor) lead with love and levity. She told Broadway World that Annbritt worked with her in New York rehearsing the music before she arrived in St. Louis. While Jackson humbly gives the credit to others, she did mention that she had all her lines memorized and was very prepared before arriving in St. Louis. “I did a lot of work before I got here,” she said. 

“There are so many things that excite me about this production of THE LITTLE MERMAID, but the most exciting thing is the number of kids and teenagers who are in the show,” she said. Jackson called the young performers the future of musical theater. She took that from the choreographer Patrick O’Neill who says, “the future of musical theater is in good hands.”  

Jackson spoke warmly about the people here. She finds it incredible the way St. Louisans value theatre. “Performing outside in this beautiful park for the people of this community is,” she paused, took a deep breath, let out a long sigh, and said, “just so special.”  

Following her stint as Ariel, Jackson will head to San Diego to sing the role of Joanne Jefferson in RENT with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra at the Rady Shell. After RENT, she will return to New York to continue workshopping a brand-new musical. Jackson will appear as Ariel, in Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID through July 16th. Tickets can be purchased by clicking the link below.  

PHOTO CREDIT: Phillip Hamer




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