Steel River Playhouse is serving up a magical musical that is sure to delight fans of the Disney movie – and even those who have never seen it. The tale of “The Little Mermaid” has charmed young and old since Hans Christian Andersen first published it in 1837. Add to that catchy music and a first-rate cast of singers and dancers and you’ve got an evening of great family entertainment.
Director Dann Dunn has picked the perfect cast to bring Disney’s animated characters to life on the Steel River main stage. Amanda Morrell’s exquisite voice is ideal for Ariel, The Little Mermaid, especially in the show’s classic ballad “Part of Your World.” She and John DiFerdinando as Prince Eric have a sweet, romantic charisma, appropriate for this show. He shows off his rich tenor in “Her Voice.”
There always has to be a villain (or villainess) and in this case it’s Ursula the Seawitch and King Triton’s sister, played with exquisitely evil style by Alicia Huppman with equally evil slippery sidekicks Flotsam and Jetsam, played by Jordan McAndrew and Anastasia Moskal.
The show offers numerous opportunities for actors to showcase their talents, for example Tyreese Kadle takes the cast on a toe-tapping adventure as Sebastian in “Under the Sea.”
Two of my favorite characters are critters that have been “humanized” Flounder, played by Olivia Reitz and Skuttle the seagull, played by Lisa Hendricks. Reitz emits such positive energy that she steals every scene she’s in -- she just can’t help it.
Hendricks is a gifted comedian who has mastered bird-like movements to bring this wacky seagull to life. Her interpretation gets added to my personal list of favorite individual performances.
Back to the sort of human side, Brian Rock is impressive as Triton Ariel’s father. His regal bearing and stance and delivery of “If Only” befits the King of the Sea.
Other notable performances are by Tom Pitt as Grimsby and Sebastian Antonio as Chef Louis. The latter had the audience in stitches with his antics.
Backing up the leads are some very talented cast members: Stephanie Chappelle, Nicole Simpkins, Heather Corson, Courtney Harris, Madison Devlin, Katie Clements, Samantha Dobson and Emily Reitz as Ariel’s mersisters; as well as Stephen Waters, Stephen Eurillo, Michael Thornton, James Wier, Ellie Rice, Kaleena Vontor, Alana Penrose, Lukas Bruce and Nathan Rock.
The live orchestra was conducted by Barbara NewBerry.
“The Little Mermaid” continues at Steel River Playhouse through June 11. Purchase show tickets online at www.steelriver.org, through the box office at 610-970-1199, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Any questions about the production or group sale discounts, please don’t hesitate to contact Beth McDonnell Director Sales & Marketing at email@example.com.
In addition, a special event the Barnacle Bash is set for Saturday, June 3 from 12-1:30 p.m. before the show. This special mermaid-inspired event includes crafts, snacks and a meet & greet with cast! Receive autographs and take pictures and with Ariel and your favorite characters from “The Little Mermaid.” Tickets to this event are sold separately with limited availability. Order tickets online at www.steelriver.org or through the box office at 610-970-1199. This event is for children 4 years and older. An adult must accompany the child or children.