One Girl, Two Cities

Review: The Little Mermaid Jr. by Stages Theatre Co.

the little mermaid jr stagesStages Theatre Company presents The Little Mermaid Jr now through Aug. 2nd so grab the kids and go! My sister Sara and I loved The Little Mermaid at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, so we were curious if we would notice any major differences since STC is children’s theatre.

Nope! We loved it just as much, and it might be safe to say that I officially like the stage production more than the movie.

On the block just southeast of STC, there’s a big, free public parking ramp, and the STC building is bright and welcoming. They made a fun picture opportunity and have take-home coloring pages.

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The only thing on stage at the beginning is a treasure chest, but before you know it, kids are springing out of it and the stage is filled with singing and dancing. The company makes great use of the aisles, too, by frequently using them as entrances and exits for the characters which made me feel more immersed in the show. I enjoyed watching the kids in the audience looking all around and getting into the music.

The Little Mermaid Jr isn’t only a treat to listen to, there’s strong visual appeal thanks to the variety of colorful sets by Benjamin Olsen and costume and makeup by Samantha Fromm Haddow. I especially love the beautiful blue and gold weaving for the top of King Triton’s costume!

Photo courtesy of Stages Theatre Company

Photo courtesy of Stages Theatre Company

Tori Adams as Ariel brought tears to my eyes when she sang “Part of Your World,” and my sister and I both agreed she was comparable to Caroline Innerbichler who played Ariel at Chanhassen. [Check out Adams’ interview with RedCurrent here.] Adams and Brandon Krisko as Eric make a great pairing, and both have beautiful voices. My favorite scene was “Kiss the Girl” where all of these aspects of the show came together perfectly: the charming actors, perfect lighting and a whimsically romantic set.

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“Kiss the Girl” Photo courtesy of Stages Theatre Company

While most of the cast is quite young, there was no lack of talent or professionalism which includes lovely voices, entertaining choreography by Laura Mahler, and even a variety of accents.

Since STC tailors their shows to children, they keep them short. Our show started at 7pm and we walked out the door at 8:10pm. The thing is, Sara and I didn’t feel like we missed out on anything, even knowing that Chanhassen’s show ran close to 3 hours. The one thing I will mention specifically to parents is that there was a young girl behind me who was probably about 4 years old who told her mom she was scared during one of Ursala’s scenes. We all know Ursala is conniving and sinister, and Brittany Parker plays her oh so well, so I can’t say I blame her for being scared!

But overall, this is a delightful show that captures the essence of the movie, and you can’t help but get caught up in the youthful energy of the cast. The Little Mermaid Jr is for all ages and runs now through Aug 2. Check out the sneak peek video below, then purchase your tickets online.

Also make sure to take a look at the list of upcoming shows!

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