Thursday, July 10, 2014

Under the Sea...

The Little Mermaid was the first full-length, animated, feature film by Disney that I'd ever seen...and I was mesmerized. A 1989 film, I wasn't a kid. We had moved around so much that I never had the opportunity to see the Disney classics. Still, what a great first Disney animated film to see!

When I received the invitation to attend the touring Broadway performance of The Little Mermaid at The Fox Theatre, there was only one answer..."Yes, please!" And what an incredible show it is!

The Little Mermaid (Photo by Bruce Bennett, courtesy of Houston TUTS)

I'm usually a fan of a show's protagonist, but in this case, Ursula stole the show...but then again, would you expect anything less from a Sea Witch? 

It wasn't until the day after that I read the Julie Bookman article in the program (Read it!), which featured Liz McCartney (Ursula), that my decision was confirmed and totally made sense. And it turns out that I've seen Liz perform in other shows...The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserable, Wicked...she truly is a wonderful performer! 

Yes, it's true, I've seen a fair amount of theatre...but it's not until I start listing the shows that I actually realize it. I've been fortunate to lead a rich cultural experiences life, all over the world, for which I'm grateful.

The Little Mermaid (Photo by Bruce Bennett, courtesy of Houston TUTS)

The one thing that impressed me most about this performance of The Little Mermaid was the movement. The actors' performance in every scene made you feel like you were watching them under the sea. Graceful and convincing, every one of them were.

Jessica Grove (Ariel) was enchanting...what an amazing voice! She brought Broadway to Atlanta. Eric Kunze (Prince Eric) was beyond couldn't help but wish he would fall head over fins for Ariel...okay, he doesn't have fins, but you know what I mean.

Did I mention that there are gallons upon gallons of fishy jokes throughout the performance? And that you never tire of them? You actually giggle all night long!

There were so many wonderful performers, I wish I could note them all. The Mersisters (Loved them!), the gulls, Flotsam and Jetsam (Ursula's partners in crime, and tentacle operators)...they were all amazing. 

Christian Probst (Flounder) was especially sweet...a small fish in big pond. Would have loved to have seen his character "played" up a bit more. Then again, he was totally in character and played it well.

The Little Mermaid (Photo by Bruce Bennett, courtesy of Houston TUTS)

Under the Sea, performed by Alan Mingo, Jr. (Sebastian), was brilliant! It instantly transported me back to 1989. His character, one of the ones who were "grounded" throughout the performance, was quite amazing...and laughter-inducing throughout. It amazes me how a mere 'movement' can elicit laughter and emotion.

Many of the characters, including Ariel, King Triton (Steve Blanchard), and Scuttle (Matt Allen), mostly performed on wires, which contributed to the swimming visual effect that so brilliantly brought the show to life.

The Little Mermaid (Photo by Bruce Bennett, courtesy of Houston TUTS)

Chef Louis, performed by Brian Ray Norris, was amazingly agile and super funny..."Les Poisson, Les Poisson...How I love Les Poisson". Being the foodie that I am (Did you know that about me?), I was particularly humored by this sequence...and quite impressed with the stage interpretation. Lots of movement!

As has become my tradition when I take in a show at The Fox Theatre, I enjoy a pre-show visit to Livingston Restaurant + Bar, which happens to be my favorite Atlanta restaurant, so it works out quite nicely as a tradition. It also happens to be a sponsor of the Fox.

You know how it is when you become a "regular", you end up having favorites, whether a dish, a beverage, or a person. Shanna waited on us again and she was her usual self, the definitive professional. And I'm tremendously grateful that she found for me the blue cheese-stuffed olives I'd hoped would accompany my martini. And the Fried Green Tomatoes were amazing! "Thank you, Shanna" for the consistent wonderful service!

And compliments to chef Michael Semancik, who I've not yet met, but hope to in the near future. I'm loving his culinary creations! The restaurant has changed since I first wrote about it in 2010, and I've shared numerous Social Media posts about the restaurant since, but I think the changes have been for the better. One typically won't hang around if an establishment doesn't change for the better, right?

The Little Mermaid (Photo by Bruce Bennett, courtesy of Houston TUTS)

There was tap dancing...tap dancing Seagulls! Of all the performing arts, tap dancing is the one that I truly wish I had learned. It's a dying art, which is such a shame. The late Gregory Hines is of course a favorite, and I saw Riverdance at the Fox years ago...LOVED it!

Tap dancing remains on my 'Bucket List', one of the items that I truly, truly hope I make happen one day. Let's hope I can tap dance nearly as well as The Little Mermaid's flock of seagulls, also a favorite band when I was younger.

The Little Mermaid (Photo by Bruce Bennett, courtesy of Houston TUTS)

Wow! How do I wrap this up? No, no, no...not in a sushi roll. How distasteful! But I actually do love sushi...don't tell Ariel!

I'd like to offer a huge wanderlust ATLANTA "Thank you!" to BRAVE PR and The Fox Theatre for the tickets to see the show.

I also want to remind my readers that even when I'm gifted media passes, I only write about what I enjoy. If I have nothing good or wonderful to say about a performance, museum, or attraction, I just won't write about it at all. With that said, keep in mind that there are a number of places I've yet to visit...even as much as I get around!

Head on down under the sea, currently known as The Fox Theatre, to see The Little Mermaid...she's only there through Sunday, July 13. And if you have the time, stop by Livingston Restaurant + Bar and say "Hello" to Shanna.

No comments: