Unless your “fins” are nailed to the floor, you’d better rush to get your tickets to see Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. This show is a spectacular, surprising, delightful experience and tickets are disappearing fast!
I’ve been a fan of this story since my theatre friends and I first saw the animated Disney movie in a theatre several decades ago and literally fell out of our seats with delighted laughter during “Under the Sea” and “Les Poissants.” The stage version of this show includes all the classic Alan Menken and Howard Ashman songs from the movie, and adds a few new ones with lyrics by Glenn Slater.
As we set out for a girls’ night out adventure under the sea, my family knew Beef & Boards would do a great job, but this show far exceeded our expectations!
Let’s start with the cast. Wow. Sarah Daniels (who recently made her Beef & Boards debut as Sandy in Grease) absolutely shines as Ariel. Our jaws were dropping as she “swam” above our heads, moving gracefully through the air while flawlessly singing “Part of Your World.” I’d love to know what it took for her to manage such great breath support while being suspended from a harness! Just amazing.
Nate Willey as Prince Eric brought youthful energy, a strong voice and royal charisma to the stage– I cracked up hearing the young ladies in the crowd showing their enthusiastic appreciation. Kelly Teal Goyette (who played Miss Hannigan in Annie and Dragon in Shrek) absolutely OWNED the diva role of Ursula, the sea witch. With her powerhouse voice and rock solid comedic timing, it felt like this was a role she was born to play! Brett Mutter as Chef Louis and Michael Ray Fisher as reggae-inspired crab Sebastian were hilarious and impressive in their roles, each prompting huge laughs and raucous applause.
I loved the sincerity of Beef & Boards veteran Pete Scharbrough as King Triton (who gets to sing in the stage production!), the comedic perfection of John Vessels as Grimsby and the creeptastic harmonies of villainous electric eels Flotsam and Jestam, played by brothers Austin Glen Jacobs and Ryan Alexander Jacobs.
The rest of the cast and the dance ensemble lit up the seascape with a level of talent that will make your head swim. (Make sure to watch for Kristen Noonan’s incredible aerial stunts and acrobatics – this surprising element literally elevated the production to a new level!) The fun choreography (by Ron Morgan) and vibrant costumes (Jill Kelly) created delight and painted gorgeous pictures on stage. Giant sea creature puppets floated in and out of scenes such as “Kiss the Girl” and “Under the Sea,” making things even more magical.
Congrats to director Elizabeth Stark Payne, choreographer Ron Morgan and musical director Terry Woods! It is definitely “hotta under de watta” in this production!
Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” is on stage through June 30 at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Tickets range from $45 to $70 ($10 Family Show discount off tickets for kids ages 3-15), and include a buffet dinner. For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664, and for complete show schedule, visit beefandboards.com.