If you were a girl who grew up in the 90’s (such as myself) you’d most likely be able to name all of the Disney princesses by heart. I always swore when I grew up I’d show my kids all of their classic tales and apparently I wasn’t alone in that sentiment. The Byham Theater was packed on Thursday night with ages ranging from 6 to 60+ to see the beautiful story of everyone’s favorite little mermaid, Ariel produced by Pittsburgh Musical Theater.
Ariel (played by Larissa Overholt, pictured above with Tim Hartman as King Triton) glided on stage in her Heelys for the opening scene, which I have to say were the perfect substitute for the absence of swimming. It was clear from her first note that her voice was spot on if not better than Jodi Benson’s original 1989 portrayal. I’m just saying if I had Ursula’s magic shell I’d totally snatch those pipes up too. We are soon introduced to her aquatic friends and family including her father, King Triton (Tim Hartman), Flounder (Brecken Farrell), Scuttle (Jeremy Czarniak, pictured below) and Sebastian (Trumaine “Tru” Verret-Felming), whose performance nothing short of blew me away. I was extremely impressed by the ability of Verret-Felming and Overholt to translate difficult scenes onto the stage such as Eric (Billy Mason) seeing Ariel for the first time after he was washed ashore and Sebastian being unexpectedly found under a dinner plate at Ariel and Eric’s first meal.
I loved the colorful wardrobe that truly made “under the sea” seem like the best place to be. The backdrops also perfectly set the mood for everything from Ariel’s beautiful (and hilarious) sisters’ spectacular numbers and Ursula’s (Andrea Weinzierl) wickedly awesome performances. The only thing I wasn’t truly convinced of was the chemistry between Ariel and Eric, whose microphone seemed to be having some technical issues in more than one scene. I also felt the performance’s take on Ursula’s demise (spoiler alert, but come on people the movie came out 26 years ago) was a little anti-climactic, but it would also be rather difficult to spear an octopus with the front of a wooden ship on stage so I can’t really fault them for that.
All in all, though, I felt the performance served as a delightful night of magic for all ages and would definitely recommend going to check it out before the last performance on February 1. More information on the show and tickets can be found here. Photos by Rockhan Photography.
Performance Date: January 24, 2015