Review Roundup: Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID at The Muny
The Muny's opening night performance of Disney's The Little Mermaid took place last night, June 20, 2017, and BroadwayWorld has a first look at the cast in action below!
Set in a magical kingdom beneath the sea, Disney's smash-hit The Little Mermaidtells the tale of headstrong Princess Ariel and her dreams of the world up above. Defying her father, she risks gadgets and gizmos aplenty to chase her dreams no matter the consequences. Featuring splashy sidekicks, a villainous sea witch and a romance as deep as the ocean, this Muny aquatic adventure will leave the entire family happy as a clam.
The full cast includes: Emma Degerstedt (Ariel), Jason Gotay (Prince Eric), Emily Skinner (Ursula), Jerry Dixon (King Triton), James T. Lane (Sebastian), Jeffrey Schecter (Scuttle), Frank Vlastnik (Chef Louis), Richard B. Watson (Grimsby), Spencer Jones (Flounder), Kevin Zak (Flotsam), Will Porter (Jetsam) joined by a talented ensemble that includes Jordan Beall, Stephanie Bissonnette, Joseph Fierberg, Emma Gassett, Berklea Going, Marina Kondo, Ben Lanham, Matthew Aaron Liotine, Alex Hayden Miller, Halle Morse, Kenneth Michael Murray, Commodore C. Primous III, Scarlett Walker and Brion Marquis Watson. The company is also joined by the Muny kid and teen youth ensembles.
An outstanding design team leads this production with direction by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, choreography by Josh Walden, music direction by Charlie Alterman, scenic design by Michael Schweikardt, costume design by Robin L. McGee, lighting design by Nathan W. Scheuer, sound design by John Shivers and David Patridge, video design by Matthew Young, wig design by John Metzner, with production stage manager Larry Smiglewski.
Let's see what the critics have to say!
St. Louis Post Dispatch (Judith Newmark): Costume designer Robin L. McGee, scenic designer Michael Schweikardt, video designer Matthew Young and lighting designer Nathan W. Scheuer join forces to create a spectacular undersea world, full of imaginative color and shapes. The dancing jellyfish are particularly lovely. They're pretty good on land, too, especially in the romantic "Kiss the Girl" sequence. With a little salute to "The Lion King," it features all kinds of puppetry, including puppets manipulated by dancers "disguised" as plants in the lake where Ariel and Eric enjoy a rowboat ride. Lane does a great job setting the mood with the rhythmic love song.
Bellville News-Democrat (Lynn Venhaus): A purring Emily Skinner fumed and snarled with glee as the cunning uber-villain. The versatile actress, who made her mark as Dorothy Brock in last year's "42nd Street" and as Phyllis in The Rep's "Follies," tore into a fierce "Poor Unfortunate Souls" with scene-stealing panache. As her henchmen, Kevin Zak and Will Porter nimbly move as evil eels Flotsam and Jetsam. A luminous Emma Degerstedt personifies free-spirited Ariel with an effervescent likability and sweet voice, delivering a dreamy "The World Above" and velvety "Part of Your World." The romantic couple could be bland, as the guy is minimally defined in the genre, a stock role that doesn't require much more than handsome book-cover looks and heroic confidence. However, Jason Gotay doesn't phone in the love story. Quickly becoming a favorite of mine after his strong Jack in "Into the Woods" and amiable Sky in last year's "Mamma Mia!," he is a dashing Prince Eric, handling vocals and movements vigorously.
CBS St. Louis: But the best reason to see "The Little Mermaid" this week is the work of a organization in New York known as The Puppet Kitchen and one of their founders, Eric Wright. His team have designed a collection of puppets and trained cast members operating them and providing voice in such a way that they steal the evening, If you've been impressed by the puppetry in shows "The Lion King," "War Horse" and "Avenue Q," wait to see this very special aspect of The Muny's "The Little Mermaid."