Tag Archives: Broadway

The Little Mermaid Brings Magic of The Sea to DPAC!

Cast of Disneys THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo by Mark & Tracy Photography.jpg

Cast of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”
(Photo by Mark & Tracy Photography)

The Little Mermaid opened this past Tuesday night in Durham and brought a wave of Disney Magic to the stage at DPAC. I haven’t seen the animated film in quite a while but watching this touring production stirred up a strong dose of nostalgia as the story of the world’s most famous mermaid was brought to life on stage.

The show tells the story of Ariel, a mermaid princess (played by Diana Huey) who longs to leave behind the aquatic kingdom along with her life under the sea to join the humans on the surface. Ariel’s love for the land leads her to make secret journeys to the surface and on one such trip early in the first act she encounters Prince Eric (played Eric Kunze). Ariel ends up rescuing the Prince when he is thrown overboard the ship he is sailing and immediately falls for him further cementing her desire for a life on land.

Ariel’s dad, King Tritan (played by Steve Blanchard) is not pleased with Ariel’s fascination with humans as he blames them for the untimely death of Ariel’s mother. Ariel, being the headstrong mermaid she is turns to the sea witch Ursula in her desperation to make her human. But it comes at a heavy cost – her voice and her soul if she can’t get Prince Eric to kiss her before sunset on the third day.

 

Diana Huey in Disneys THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo by Mark & Tracy Photography.jpg

Diana Huey in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”
(Photo by Mark & Tracy Photography)

 

 

The show is faithful to the movie with a few adjustments for the stage. These changes add to the story and allow us to learn a little more about the relationship between King Tritan and Ursula (they are brother and sister).

The cast was a lot of fun to watch in this production. Huey does an excellent job as Ariel and her voice shines in several of the numbers.  It is truly amazing the job she does with vocals considering she is almost in constant motion gracefully swimming across the stage suspended high above the ground in a harness.

Sebastian, played by Melvin Abston, also gave a notable performance and almost stole every scene he was in. Abston is full form during the iconic songs “Kiss the Girl” and crowd favorite “Under the Sea”. Equally impressive was Ursual, played by Meredith Inglesby joined by her glowing minions Flotsam and Jetsam.  And of course, the Chef Louis scene in the second Act was an absolute crowd favorite and had people singing along in their seats.

While I’m sure for many in the audience their favorite part of the show was the iconic songs, I was equally amazed at the sets and flight choreography is breathtaking as the characters float/swim across the stage. The cast and crew’s ability to seamlessly work between the stage and the rails deserves high praise for its fluidity and perfection in timing.

Another truly impressive aspect of the show was the sets, while simple in nature, use colors and lighting so well that you truly do feel like you are experiencing life under the sea. This production of “The Little Mermaid” feels like a storybook fantasy come to life on stage and is sure to be a crowd favorite for children and adults alike. There are limited seats available for the remaining shows, but worth trying to catch one if you can!

“The Little Mermaid” has performances at DPAC  through Sunday, October 22nd. For tickets visit https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/the-little-mermaid.

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The Durham Performing Arts Center DPAC

If you are looking to see a Broadway musical, concert, or comedy act check out the event schedule for the new Durham Performing Arts Center known as “DPAC”. Since opening in November 2008 the art center has presented more than 150 with over 250, 000 guests in attendance. Last year the DPAC sold out over 30 shows including musical acts Leonard Cohen, Steely Dan, and Harry Connick Jr., comedians Bill Cosby and Robin Williams and an entire week of Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple. Their schedule this year includes over 175 events throughout the upcoming year.

The venue is 100,000 square feet and has 2,700 seats. There are currently 10,000 season ticket holders and gets a lot of popular shows. Recently I purchased tickets for my wife and I to see Wicked there later this spring. Although the tickets went fast and it took a lot of tries through Ticketmaster online we were finally able to nab some tickets for the upper balcony. Fortunately the layout of the theater was designed to put you close to the stage, with no seat further than 135 feet away from the action. I am looking forward to both seeing the show and getting a look at the interior design of this modern theater. Some other interesting acts coming to PAC thsi year include Chicago, Paula Deen, The Ringo Star All Star Band, and Harry Connick Jr.

If you are in the Durham area and want to take a free tour of the venue, DPAC offers a public tour the first Monday of the month. The public tour will be given by DPAC staff and begin at 11:00 am. Tours include sights of the theatre from all levels, an extraordinary view from the Mildred & Dillard Teer Stage, and a city skyline panorama from the star terrace lobby. Tours will also get a chance to see where the stars prepare for show time. For more information, check out the DPAC website here: Link

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