Whenever The Muny does a show very well, no matter what the genre, there’s a post-performance celebratory feeling that begins with the curtain calls and sends everybody home (including the cast) feeling on top of the world. That is exactly what happened opening night with The Muny’s awesome production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
Certainly the costumes, the set pieces, the backdrops and the lighting design are dazzling. The choreography is fun, especially a tremendous tap number, “Positoovity” lead by the wonderful Lara Teeter as Scuttle in the beginning of Act II. But what makes the show work so beautifully all evening is an ideally cast ensemble that touts some of the most talented people to play a kid’s show at The Muny in a long time.
By the way, so you don’t have to count, there are 60 children in the youth ensemble, and they do swimmingly well.
My favorites were Lara Teeter’s daughter Elizabeth in the role of Flounder. This little girl’s stage presence and gifted voice are amazing. The great Ken Page as King Triton is powerful, and yet touching, especially near the end of the show when he sings a reprise of “If Only” and laments the feelings every Dad has as he let’s his daughter go out in the world on her own. The grand comic talents of Paul Vogt as Triton’s evil sister Ursula are near show-stopping. The consummate acting, dancing and singing skills of Francis Jue as Sebastian are a joy to experience. John Riddle as Prince Eric and Patti Murin as Ariel are the classic storybook couple.
Paul Blake’s direction and choreography by Alex Sanchez have molded a show that flows wonderfully and never stops being delightfully entertaining and fun.
The production will be on stage at The Muny through July 14. The largest opening night crowd of the season, in excess of 9200, is a good indication that many a family are going to set out for “The Little Mermaid.” It will be smooth sailing indeed.