Chanhassen Dinner Theatres picked the perfect show to usher in spring in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”, based on the widely popular 1989 Disney movie. Caroline Innerbichler is undeniably flawless as Ariel. She has the perfect combination of spunk and tenacity needed to bring Ariel to life both under the sea and on land. Her voice is outstanding for this role. Even in the second act when she isn’t able to speak her gestures and body language fill the theatre as she attempts to communicate with those around her.
Tyler Michaels is perfectly cast as Prince Eric, the rebellious prince who would rather be sailing than ruling. His chemistry and stage presence is perfectly matched with Caroline’s Ariel. Choreographer Tamara Kangas Erickson did a beautiful job incorporating Michaels’ noted aerial skills into the scene where Prince Eric falls overboard.
As King Trition, Keith Rice breathes a larger than life persona into the King of the Sea. Comedic actress Kersten Rodau is really the only actress who would be able to pull off the role of Ursula. Her comedic timing, sarcasm and powerful voice bring the wicked witch of the sea to life. Jay Albright as Scuttle and Andre Shoals as Sebastian were scene stealers. Their deadpan comedic timing and body language perfectly matched their personalities.
Michael Brindsi did a magnificent job not only casting this show, but staging and bringing to life characters that are beloved by so many on film. Too often when a show, especially a Disney one, is based on a movie it is hard to separate the two art forms and allow the musical to stand on its own away from the movie and Michael Brindsi was able to achieve that. Rich Hamson’s costumes are unbelievably gorgeous. Full of tropical colors, patterns and textures.
The Little Mermaid plays through the end of August at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres in Chanhassen. This is a show I highly recommend you see and it is great for the whole family. It’s a perfect piece to introduce your little ones to theatre for the first time.