READING — Gather the whole family and get your ticket to Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” when it hits the Genesius Theatre stage in Reading starting on Friday, Dec. 6.
Adapted from a classic tale by Hans Christian Andersen, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” soars with music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menkin and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glen Slater. Based on the book by Doug Wright, children and adults alike will be entranced by the journey of mermaid Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, and her search for legs and love with human Prince Eric.
Come along for the ride as she, along with her lobster friend Sebastian and Flounder the Fish, battles the Evil Sea Witch, Ursula, and get swept away by catchy sing-along worthy hits, including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World.”
Director Chris Sperat says audiences will enjoy all the songs and characters they know and love from the original Oscar-winning film celebrating its 30th anniversary in the Genesius production, but that it will also be enhanced by the addition of brand-new Tony-nominated numbers. A stand-out moment comes in the form of Emily Snyder’s performance of “Part of Your World,” asserts Sperat.
Snyder started her Genesius career in 2003 and is a Wilson School District music teacher during the day. She says she relishes the opportunity to step into the role of a princess and that she’s particularly excited to help put together and perform the sensory-friendly performance Genesius will offer for Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
At her side will be the show’s “host” of sorts, Sebastian, played by Albert Garcia. He hopes to raise the bar on what audience members expect from the character and after working behind-the-scenes on about 35 Genesius shows as sound designer, is excited to get back on stage in front of the curtain.
Rounding out the cast will be 13-year-old Antietam Junior/Senior High School student Ellen Rochlin in the role of Flounder. Says Rochlin of her first adult show role, “When I found out we were doing Disney’s The Little Mermaid I immediately knew I wanted to be Flounder. I love being able to play this loveable character and look forward to seeing what I can do comedically with the role.”
Rochlin reveals that the Genesius community feels like her second family, and that she can’t wait to share the special Genesius experience with audiences, especially those attendees coming to their first Genesius show.
Special to Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” will be a separately ticketed pre-show party with the production’s main characters Ariel, Prince Eric, Sebastian, Scuttle, Flounder and Ursula on matinee dates at a cost of $15 per person. Party participants will be able to enjoy a craft activity, play games, have a snack and get their photo taken with characters. All ages are invited, but the party is geared to children ages 3 to 10. Parents can help children with activities if needed. On Dec. 7 and 14, parties will be from 1 to 1:30 p.m., and on Dec. 8 and 15, the parties will be from 2 to 2:30 p.m.
“We knew the children would love a Disney show, but wouldn’t really able to interact with the cast much when the shows were over,” said organizer Jericho Joy. “If they attend the party, they get to have some time to meet everyone and also have a little keepsake craft to take home.”
Also special to the production will be a sensory-friendly show on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 10 a.m. This family-friendly performance is designed and intended for those who are on the autism spectrum or who have other sensory issues. At this performance, the theatre environment will be altered, providing a safe, friendly, comfortable and judgment-free zone that is welcoming for all. These performances are recommended for those families and caregivers who are familiar with and accepting of behaviors exhibited by some individuals with autism — and would like to bring a loved one to the theatre.
The musical director for the show is Kevin Cooper, and Jennifer Parker Scott is choreographer.
Show dates are Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 7, 2 p.m. (pre-show party at 1 p.m.) and 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 8, 3 p.m. (pre-show party at 2 p.m.); Dec. 14, 2 p.m. (pre-show party at 1 p.m.) and 7:30 p.m.; and Dec. 15, 10 a.m. (sensory-friendly performance), 3 p.m. (pre-show party at 2 p.m.).
“The Little Mermaid” is rated G. To purchase tickets and for additional information, visit www.genesiusdifference.org.
Genesius is a 501-C-3 Non-profit organization. The theatre is located at 153 N. 10th St., Reading, PA, and is handicapped accessible. Free parking is available (limited spaces available) next to the theatre. For more info call the theatre at 610-371-8151.