Review: Disney’s The Little Mermaid Musical Dives Into Waves of Magic

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‘Disney’s The Little Mermaid’ is a captivating spectacle, immersing you in a world of dazzling costumes, graceful voices, and a sea of nautical puns. It’s an enchanting journey into aquatic fantasy, a professional Broadway-level production that’s perfect for the whole family. Based on the beloved 1989 animated Disney musical film, McCoy Rigby Entertainment brings a spellbinding experience to La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts with ‘Disney’s The Little Mermaid’ musical.

Ariel (Leianna Weaver) is a teenage mermaid in love with the human Prince Eric (Coleman Cummings). Ariel’s father, King Triton (Trent Mills), blames humans for his queen’s demise. So, he forbids any interaction between merpeople and humans. The royal musician crustacean Sebastian (Dana Orange) is appointed to supervise Ariel for King Triton. Flounder (Kevin Kulp) is Ariel’s fish friend. The seagull Scuttle (Quintan Craig) is Ariel’s go-to bird for expertise about the human world. The sea witch Ursula (Regina Le Vert) tempts a deal to use her magic to make Ariel’s dreams come true. But as they say: “Magic comes with a price.”

The Little Mermaid

Extra imagination is used to dress the sea life. The fishtail design on Merpeople is clever and fanciful. European composer garments influence Sebastian. Ursula spreads her tentacled dress. The underwater population shimmers from its scaly layer. Sweeping choreography fills the colorful stage with mesmerizing fun. Favorite songs bring wave after wave of heart and nostalgia. Crowd-pleasing selections include “Under the Sea,” “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World.”

The new songs in the musical not only strengthen the story but also showcase the immense talent of the cast. From Ariel’s sisters and Flounder’s doo-wop in ‘She’s in Love’ To the quartet of Ariel, Prince Eric, Sebastian, and King Triton in ‘If Only ‘, the cast’s harmonies are a delight. Prince Eric’s solo in ‘Her Voice’ is a powerful expression of his admiration for the voice that saved him from the ocean, leaving the audience in awe of his vocal prowess.

Additional backstory provides more motivation for the villain’s plot. Ariel’s mersisters are given more personality. Ariel’s fish-out-of-water journey focuses more about her dream of exploring and living in a world outside of her norm. Prince Eric’s role as a lead is marginalized to practically a side character by the show’s end. Ariel salvages her life and that of her father without needing to be rescued.

The Little Mermaid

Body rolls from the merpeople and Flounder to simulate being underwater are soft and accompanied with flowing arm motions. The body rolls and flowing arms to simulate underwater motion become less distracting after awhile. High-wires simulate swimming under water and flight in the human world. Although a shipwreck is implied and not literal, one may spot with a spyglass the abrupt climax that wraps most loose ends. Flounder’s nervous crush on Ariel lingers unacknowledged and left hanging out to dry.

The magic, music, and majesty of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” musical is not to be missed. Book by Doug Wright. Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater. Musical Direction by Brent Crayon. Choreography by John MacInnis. Direction by Glenn Casale.

The Little Mermaid

Playing on select evenings from now until June 23, 2024 at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. Open-captioned performance on June 15 at 2pm. Talkbacks with cast and creative team on June 6 and June 20 following the 7:30 pm performance.

For ticket sales and more information, call (562) 944-9801 or (714) 994-6310 or visit Group, student, and military discounts are available. Children under 3 will not be admitted into the theatre. Parking is free.

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