Travel under the sea with Disney’s The Little Mermaid at Walnut Street Theatre

-Brenda Hillegas
Feature photo Dana Orange, Diana Huey, and Ensemble, by Mark Garvin

You know the tale (or rather, tail)…everyone’s favorite mermaid at at Walnut Street Theatre now through January 2nd!

Disney’s The Little Mermaid musical is based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and the classic (yes, I said classic..1989) Disney film of the same name! You know all the songs too, like “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World.Adapted for the Broadway stage in 2008 with additional songs to fall in love with, this is the Philadelphia professional regional premiere! Get your masks on (so you can mouth all of the lyrics underneath it) and your vax cards ready (to keep the sea creatures safe of course), and head to Walnut Street Theatre for the most fun you’ll have this season!

The cast is outstanding and you’ll see some familiar Walnut Street Theatre performers like Rebecca Robbins (a wonderful Ursula, and in her 19th WST show!), Ben Dibble (you’ll love him as Chef Louis, especially during the comical “Les Poissons” along with Dana Orange as Sebastian) and Sean Thompson as Eric! Diana Huey makes her WST debut as the most fantastic Ariel. As a Helen Hayes Award winner for her portrayal of Kim in Miss Saigon, she’s the real deal! She’s Ariel! And those familiar The Little Mermaid songs come to life all over again through Huey.

As for the songs created specifically for the musical version, “She’s in Love” was my favorite (performed by Ariel’s sisters and Flounder). All of the costumes worn by the sisters were some of the standouts of the show as well, but with so many brilliant costumes over the course of the show, it’s hard to pick which ones were the best. Ursula’s appearance is amazing as well. You’ll love all of the bright tones radiating from stage and the splashes of color everywhere.

One thing that I noticed and really appreciated was the mannerisms of so many characters on stage. Instead of just standing still, they all appeared to be floating and bobbing as if surrounded by water. Add in the sea décor surrounding the stage and orchestra, and you’ll really feel as if you’re under the sea as well!

This is a great show to take your children to this season. There are so many young cast members in the show. If your child is a fan of musicals or casual singing (of the same songs over and over), maybe this will inspire them to be a part of the theatre world one day as well.

Open your heart to The Little Mermaid again. There are some minor changes between the movie and the musical, but that’s not uncommon. If you grew up with the movie, you’ll love the musical just as well. Audience members over 12 years old must be vaccinated. Children who are not fully vaccinated will require proof of negative test. More details on the Walnut Street Theater safety policy can be viewed here.

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