Hey everyone. It's been far too long since I've been on MiceChat. I've been super busy and just got back from a week in New York. I thought I'd share my thoughts on this show with you guys.
So it was a week ago tonight that I went, I was on row A, center orchestra. I know right? It was awesome. I sat down and looked through my playbill (this was my first trip to broadway and my first broadway show ever) to see that Bret Schuford was playing Prince Eric. I was a little dissappointed, but really the understudy did just fine.
I was really excited to see this show. This is one of my favorite Disney animated films and I believe that Part of Your World is one of the prettiest, simple melodies ever written. The overture started and ended with that melody and it was gorgeous.
When the curtain lifted, my initial thought was: "wow that's ugly." I remember loving the ship in pictures I'd seen but up close it looked really plastic and shockingly, dirty. You'd think they could clean the thing a bit? I like the color scheme but the set piece just wasn't the best.
Once we dropped beneath the sea my initial thought was: "WOW! That's beautiful." I think the under water world is approached with a more artistic sense instead of a realistic sense. It really allows the actors to be more expressive but it still feels as if you are indeed under water. The mersisters were really great, and despite what I've heard, I thought Norm Lewis did a great job as King Triton.
Then we move to where Ariel is introduced. Sierra Boggess is beyond perfect for this role. I have no idea how they're going to replace her. She was so true to this character and fully brings her to life. I was tempted to jump out of my seat and touch her, which I could have. It felt like she was looking right at me on several occasions.
As for the gulls, they're cute, a bit obnoxious, but the kids love them. This is a family show. Honestly, I see no problem with that. There is room for this show and Spring Awakening on Broadway.
Then we meet Ursula in "I Want the Good Times Back." Sherie Rene Scott takes a different approach to Ursula. I'm sure you've heard, it's very "diva." While it is indeed different, it still felt to me like she was still Ursula. Pat Carroll's Ursula has streaks of diva in her and Sherie ran with it. The result is an electrifying stage presence. I was always happy whenever she was on stage.
At this point, Ariel sings "Part of Your World." I had chills up and down my spine. The change they made at the end is beautiful and very appropriate for the stage.
The storm sequence and Prince Eric drowning was very well done. You can hear the gaps as Prince Eric falls towards the stage in slow motion. We then see the reprise of Part of Your World. This scene is one that I wanted to be exactly the same as the film. This scene in the film is my favorite animated sequence of all time. It was different, but it didn't bother me at all, it's still a beautiful scene.
Brian D'Addario sings "She's in Love" with the mersisters here and it truly brought the house down. This kid's voice fills the theater just as much, if not more, than the rest of the leads. The applause lasted for a good 8-10 seconds, he even had the slightest smirk on his face during the applause.
Tituss Burgess was really impressive on Under the Sea. His vocal range is ridiculous. I really enjoyed how they presented this scene. Tituss also has some great comedic moments throughout the show for both the kids and the adults.
Poor Unfortunate Souls was excellent. Sherie sings the heck out of this one. The scene afterwards is really cool too. The way she waved her tentacles around is very menacing and scared the kids as she casts the spell on Ariel. The transformation was good.
I'll keep my thoughts on Act 2 short.
Les Poissons, was funny. It had everyone laughing. The comedic timing is genius. It's amusing for the adults but the little kid next to me was gut laughing.
One Step Closer is actually a really pretty number. The choreography is really pretty and tells the story of the song.
Kiss the Girl is excellent. The set is really misty and sensual and really does create "the right mood."
I loved If Only. It really adds depth to the story. Instead of that short scene in the movie where Eric throws the flute into the water, we get to hear his thought process and we see that he truly is falling in love with Ariel. We also see Triton's regret to how he has treated Ariel and Ariel's desperation.
So this is where the plot differs from the movie. Eric holds a "contest" to find the voice that saved him from drowning. He chooses Ariel, despite the fact that she cannot speak. Of course, Ursula crashes the party. Ursula isn't quite as scary as she is in the movie. Giant tentacles come out over the audience but the illusion isn't quite as menacing. It isn't bad though. Ariel ultimately kills Ursula by destroying the shell. I wish they would've taken their time on the death scene, she falls through the trap door really quickly. The lights here are really cool though. The sets dissappear quickly with the lights flashing everywhere.
Here, Triton turns Ariel back into a human. This is crucial to the story and I'm glad that they added it. It's very important that Triton gives his permission to Ariel, building upon that father-daughter message. However the transformation is like "uhhhh, ok?" The music is gorgeous and I like the sisters circling her, but could they at least bring the fog up to waist level so we don't have to see her sisters ripping Ariel's limbs off? Triton swims up to the surface with Ariel which looks really cool. Despite what I've heard, the illusion is really good. It really does look like they're swimming to the surface.
The finale is a little strange. The "two worlds celebrate as one." I suppose it's important that the two worlds come together but seeing the soldiers dance with the mermaids was really weird. It felt like we had already reached the curtain call. The finale is still beautiful though. The final "Part of Your World" is magical and powerful. The audience rose to their feet as the curtain fell. I didn't feel one dose of negative energy anywhere in the theater.
Overall it's a solid show. Give or take a couple minor technical elements, I find no fault in this show. The music and cast are phenomenal. It IS a family show. To me, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It is selling out and pleasing it's audiences and I hope it runs for 10 years or longer.