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Attention all Disney, Ariel, and Prince Eric fans.
It's time to snorkel up and swim to Midtown Atlanta this weekend as The Fox Theatre is transformed into an underwater world of fantasy, fins, and famous melodies when Disney's iconic story of of Ariel, the Little Mermaid, comes to town.
All your favorite Disney Little Mermaid characters will be in attendance -- Princess Ariel, Prince Eric, Ursula the Seawitch, Flounder, and even Scuttle.
All the beloved Little Mermaid melodies will be there -- Kiss the Girl, Part of Your World, and Poor Unfortunate Souls. There will even be a few new new stage-only productions that you will love and that will fit in with the story line perfectly.
To be fair, everyone knows I am a HUGE Disney fan. I am also a Disney travel agent. I sell Disney for a living, and I am a Disney blogger when necessary. So, does that begin tell you something of the expectations I might have had for this production?
Over the years, I've seen many Disney theatrical and musical productions -- Beauty and the Beast many times over; Mary Poppins multiple times; and The Lion King a time or two. BUT...this musical, The Little Mermaid, had escaped me.
I am so happy to report here and tell you that Broadway Atlanta's first show of the year is a positive, fun, "two-thumbs up," family favorite production that is suitable for all ages. You will find that all the magic you loved from the movie is still present in the stage production. Colorful stage sets, grand costumes, and a sprinkling of Pixie Dust make this show one more success in Disney's long list of achievements.
My excitement level was high for The Little Mermaid because it's not often I get to see something "new" from Disney. You can imagine my heart swarming as we pulled into the Atlanta parking deck adjacent to the Fox Theatre.
As soon as we arrived, we were encapsulated into the Magic that is Disney. To start the evening off, we parked right next to a Mother and daughter duo also arriving for the evening. As they emerged from their car, we could see two beautiful girls all glamoured up for the night getting out, both in their classic Ariel attire. Mother and daughter. Yes, the Pixie Dust had begun to sprinkle!
So many little ones in attendance on Opening Night. So no worries about taking children, some as young as three, to this show. (Be warned, though, that there are a few "scary" scenes involving Ursula the sea witch. One little behind us broke into tears during our performance.)
We saw little boys climbing off their Mother's laps to stand in the aisle and get a better view of Prince Eric's "huge" ship and little Princesses in their best Matilda Jane, velvet dresses, and patent leather shoes watching wide-eyed as Prince Eric danced to a stunningly dressed in pink Ariel in the palace. (Again, more Pixie Dust being sprinkled.) Truly a magical evening in the best that Disney always has to offer.
If you are heading to the show this weekend or thinking about going now that you've read this, a few things I would like to mention ahead of time. Just so you can be aware.
First of all, I think it's important that you know Ariel is played by Diana Huey. Diana's talent is HUGE. She has learned the Disney Princess mannerisms well and has definitely done her Disney homework.
Her voice is pristine and crystal clear and her acting on spot. Her resume is long and impressive. However, the one thing I want to know before you go is this -- she's ASIAN. Yes. You heard me correctly -- she's Asian.
Apparently, this casting made national theatre news; I had no idea. And little ones may not even catch it or notice. But I did hear murmuring in the audience that night when Ariel appeared for the first time on stage.
I had a hard time with this at first. Would we change Mulan? Would we change Tiana? I'm not so sure we would. So why would we change Ariel? Then someone, very familiar and with family in the Broadway musical business, said to me, "A good actor can make you see past who they are and make you believe they are their character." (Thank you Susan.)
So, okay. I give. She was right. A few minutes into the production, and I had forgotten all about Diana being Asian.
The second thing I want you to be aware of and to watch for is this fun little detail -- body language. As Ursula would say, "...and don't underestimate the importantance of body language." I didn't pick up on this subtlety at first until my friend pointed it out to me, "Look how they are moving their bodies." That's all I'm going to hint at here. Just watch. You'll see what I mean...It's pretty cool.
And the last and third thing I want you to be ready for is the swimming. Yes. The swimming. The producers and technicians have done an amazing feat in this musical (which, really, when you've seen enough musicals, you slowly begin to realize that the entire Broadway, off-Broadway, and local musical communities are actually all amazing). So amazing, in fact, you won't even realize that the characters aren't swimming.
(To get a sneak peek on "swimming" and backstage antics, visit @broadwayatlanta's Instagram page .)
To summarize our trip to see The Little Mermaid, if you have little ones or are a Disney fan like myself, do yourself a favor and go catch some Pixie Dust while it's being sprinkled in town. You may click on the link above (under the show header and logo) to purchase tickets and make sure you follow @broadwayatlanta on Instagram as well!
It is always Magical when Disney comes to town.
As Mickey would say, "See you real soon!"
*This blog was provided with two complementary tickets for media night by Brave PR in exchange for promotion of the event as well as a follow up post about the musical. All views are unbiased and our own.