The Little Mermaid Review – A Visual Feast Under the Sea

Leianna Weaver as THE LITTLE MERMAID - Photo by Jason Needle/TETHOS
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Based on Hans Christian Anderson’s tragic tale of a gentle mermaid who loved too well, THE LITTLE MERMAID has been reborn into a charming and visually enchanting musical. From a book by Doug Wright with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, THE LITTLE MERMAID will delight audiences from 6 to 60 (and a wider span is even possible). A hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages, this “fishy” tale contains irresistible songs like “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World.” If possible, this production is even more magical than the Disney animated film of the same name. After all, Disney relied on a large group of animators, while this musical relies on real-life actors.

Coleman Cummings as Prince Eric (center) and cast – Photo by Jason Niedle/TETHOS

Who can forget the story of Ariel (Leianna Weaver), the curious and playful little mermaid who wanted to be human? That wish becomes even more pressing when she casts her eyes on Prince Eric (Coleman Cummings), who just happens to be single and on the lookout for a bride. Meanwhile, King Triton (Trent Mills), her father, wants nothing to do with humans because he believes that they killed his wife. Ariel has a host of followers under the sea, each delightfully unique. She frolics with Sebastian (Dana Orange), her crab guardian, and her friendly flounder (Kevin Kulp).  But all is not without danger under the waves. Ursula (Regina Le Vert), the Witch of the Sea, has a bone to pick with King Triton. She believes that he stole the throne from her and plots revenge by offering Ariel legs to walk the earth and snag the young prince. However, Ariel has only three days to gain his love before all is lost and the octopus wins. In exchange, she must give away her beautiful voice. As Ursula remarks, “Squid pro quo.”

Regina Le Vert (center), Mitchell Lam Hau, and Christopher Diem – Photo by Jason Niedle/TETHOS

Talented director Glenn Casale has a keen eye for detail which is evident moment-to-moment in the production. The gentle swaying of the currents is even reflected in the gentle, coordinated sways of each cast member and the flair of flipper-like diaphanous materials as the sea denizens gracefully navigate the waters. Musical director and conductor Brent Crayon keeps the many songs flowing. Of course, he has a very talented group of vocalists to work with. Choreographer John Macinnis has developed beautifully timed musical numbers for all of the cast members. Paul Rubin’s flying choreography adds a magical dimension to the proceedings. The special effects are often breathtaking as cast members “swim” feet above the stage and electric eels make their mark. And let’s not forget an audience showered by popping water bubbles in the millions!

Cast of THE LITTLE MERMAID – Photo by Jason Niedle/TETHOS

The bursts of color, the flawless shadings, and the multiple scenes under and atop the water will especially grip the audience. Kenneth Foy’s and Mark Ross’ scenic design, Amy Clark’s costume design, Charlie Morrison’s lighting design, Jules Ferrin’s sound design, and the talents of the entire production team make this a memorable evening for all. THE LITTLE MERMAID is the perfect production which manages to integrate real life and magic into one with brilliant success. You’ll have a hard time keeping the smile off your face – and the awe-struck expressions from all of the little mermaids in the audience. This is a not-to-be-missed musical production for the entire family.

Leianna Weaver (center), Daniel Dawson, Kurt Kemper, and Edgar Lopez – Photo by Jason Niedle/TETHOS

THE LITTLE MERMAID runs through June 23, 2024, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, at 8 p.m. on Fridays, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sundays (no performance on Sunday, 62 at 6:30 p.m.) La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts is located at 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada, CA 90638. Tickets range from $22 to $129 (students $19, groups and military discounts available). For information and reservations, call 562-944-9801 or 714-994-6310 or go online.


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