It’s another Disney musical at Moonlight as they set on stage the classic The Little Mermaid. The musical based upon the Disney classic is in itself based on the 1837 Hans Christian Andersen story. The production is the second musical for the 37th season of Moonlight’s summer season and the family show for 2017.
The classic which was on Broadway beginning in 2008 ran for 685 performances and 50 previews. The musical was considered a huge flop for Disney and for Broadway. That however has not stopped it from being a popular show to produce for regional theaters. The re-worked version is a better version than the Broadway show and Moonlight definitely takes what they have to work with and turns it into a magical night filled with music and dance.
Little Mermaid the Musical is a story most everyone knows whether kids or adults. Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human, Prince Eric, in the world above and bargains with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to trade her tail for legs. But, the bargain is not what it seems and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull, and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea.
The breakout star of the show I think for sure is Randall Hickman, playing the part of the evil sea witch Ursula. The moment of the reveal the audience went wild for the Moonlight favorite Hickman. In this production we are able to get more back story for Ursula as well as King Triton and Ariels Mother.
Speaking of Ariel, Chassey Bennett plays the part of the title character and does an amazing job bringing one of everyone’s favorite red heads to life on the stage. She really gets to shine on stage as she performs the opening number all the way till the very end when she finally gets her feet. It’s a dream role for Bennett who has always loved Ariel.
When it comes to the choreography for this show I would have to say that some of the biggest numbers and ones I was most excited for such as “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl” were a total let down. The choreography at times felt so cluttered and so un-organized. It might have been the fact that there were so many people on stage, but the choreography could have used some cleaning up. This doesnt take away from the amazing talent and dancers who were able to take what they had been taught and ran with it. One bright spot when it comes to the choreography was for the new song sung by and including tap dancing for “Positoovity”.
The costuming and sets provided by Music Theatre of Wichita were rather blah in general especially the backdrop for the human world beach scenes, which looked amateur and hastily put together. The costumes seemed like they need more layers or pieces as many of them seemed unfinished. A bright spot in costuming was Hickman’s outfit as Moonlight’s Renetta Lloyd brings to life with amazing depth and detail the character Ursula.
The show is anchored by a very strong cast of actors that include Chassey Bennett (Ariel), David Burnham (Prince Eric), Randall Hickman (Ursula), Johnny Fletcher (Pilot), Douglas David (Grimsby), Connor Marsh (Flounder), Luke Harvey Jacobs (Scuttle), Paul Oakley Stovall (King Triton), Cornelius Jones Jr (Sebastian), Nicole Athill (Arist), Caityln Calfas (Aquata), Jordan Stanberry (Atina), Joy Newbegin (Allana), Emma Nossal (Adella), Susanna Vaughan (andrina), Sarah Errington (Flotsam), Rae Henderson (Jetsam), Ryan Dietrich (Chef Louis).
Ensemble: Danielle Airey, Scott Arnold, Nicole Athill, Drew Bradford, Jake Bradford, Caitlyn Calfas, Ryan Dietrich, Johnny Fletcher, Fisher Kakke, Jorndan Kimmel, Sebastian Montenegro, Koda Montoya, Joy Newbegin, Emma Nossal, Lisa Stone, Chad Takeda, Susanna Vaughn, E.Y. Washington.
Additional Credits: Brooke Baldwin (Stage Manager), Sarah Zimmerman (Assistant Stage Manager), Jean-Yves Tessier (Lighting Design), Jim Zadi (Sound Design), Peter Herman (Wig Design), Kathleen Kenna (Make-up Design) Gabe Nunez (Make-Up).
The Little Mermaid: Book by Doug Wright, Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, and Music by Alan Menken.
Single tickets for Moonlight Stage production of Sister Act range from $10 – $55. There are discounts for Seniors and Students and military. For tickets contact The Moonlight Amphitheatre at 760-724-2110 or visit The Moonlight Stage Production Ticket Website.
SCHEDULE: Aida show times are July 19 – August 5 with gates opening at 6:30pm and showtimes at 8pm.
LOCATION: The Moonlight Amphitheatre is located at 1200 Vale Terrace Drive
Take the Civic Center Drive and exit off Highway 78, go north. Turn right on E Vista Way. Turn right on Vale Terrace. Continue on Vale Terrace about 1/2 mile and turn left into Brengle Terrace Park.
PARKING: There is free parking available at Brengle Terrace Park. Shuttle service is available for those who end up parking in the upper grass lot. The shuttle will begin running 2.5 hours before the show starts as well as after the show.
For more information and tickets call The Moonlight Amphitheatre at 760-724-2110 or visit The Moonlight Stage Production Ticket Website.
Photos by: Ken Jacques