Disney’s The Little Mermaid: taking upstage to the extreme
What show can pull every redhead in town, under 4 ½ feet tall, out of the woodwork wearing their favorite hues of blue/green sequence? What underwater tale has all the big people singing the 1989 classic music word for word in their seats. Why, The Little Mermaid, of course.
This week opens Disney’s The Little Mermaid at the Fabulous Fox Theater. Not only is this evening filled with what the Fox has to offer; with ushers calling all the little girls princesses, a priceless organ and player filling our auditory senses with tunes like “Under The Boardwalk” and “Fiddler on the Roof” classics and a dreamy Taj Mahal-like setting, it also has the magic of Disney.
The play is the classic 1989 film with the excitement of a live performance. Highlights were the creative use of space. The theater terms “upstage” and “downstage” were coined because the old theaters, dating back to the Shakespearian era, were “raked”, meaning at an angle or titled . So when a performer is at the back of the stage they are “upstage” and the converse is also true. This production took upstage to an extreme. During the underwater scenes, Director Glenn Casale accentuates the space with the characters flying into the uninhabitable area above the stage, literally “upstage”, allowing the audience to feel like we are swimming with the performers. As our aquatic characters maneuver around they undulate, ride gliding apparati and fly to create a luxurious weightless feel.
True to Disney form this show is all about the support characters and the actors do not disappoint. We have the pleasure of experiencing the original broadway cast member Alan Mingo Jr. as Sebastian ducking in and out from under Chef Louis’ butcher knife, a small but flavorful performance by Brian Ray Norris . Scott Leiendecker and Ben Roseberry delight, as the electric eels Flotsam and Jetsam, with their high pitched melodies and Matt Alan is hilarious as the urban influenced tap dancing seagull, Scuttle. The pièce de résistance, however, is Liz McCartney, as one of my personal favorite villains, Ursuala. McCartney’s gravitas takes over the stage, her cheesy jokes are delivered perfectly and accentuated by a resonating belly laugh. Her costume, designed by Amy Clark and Mark Moss, manipulated by her two little minions, is magnificent and creates the illusion of her being a true aquatic beast, but not to the point of giving the little ones nightmares.
So the Dancer With An Attitude gives this production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid 3 thumbs up for Family Fun. So go catch, the daily special at the Fox theater today and tomorrow, June 12th and 13th and get your tickets for this wonderful underwater family adventure.
CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE This Week at The Fox Theatre!
CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE lights up the 2015 holiday season with its newest holiday stage spectacular at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre Wednesday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Nov. 27 for two unforgettable performances. THIS IS A SHOW NOT TO BE MISSED… it’s a cirque show…Broadway musical…holiday spectacular…and family show all in one.
In CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE, Broadway director Neil Goldberg re-imagines the holiday season with over 300 costumes, 20 acts and 30 performers from 12 countries showcasing an endless variety of imaginative, heart-pounding and gravity- defying feats you have to see to believe. Experience gingerbread men flipping mid air, toy soldiers marching on thin wires along with snowmen, icemen and penguins, balancing, jumping and spinning in disbelief. The show celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with singers, choreography and exciting production numbers. Performers twirl, bounce and soar thru the air to original music and seasonal favorites brought to life within a stage setting of gigantic gifts, colossal candy canes and 30-foot towering trees & soldiers creating a wonderland of amazement.
Says Creator/Director Goldberg, “Cirque Dreams Holidaze celebrates our brand of over 20 years with this unique holiday stage spectacle for the entire family. There aren’t enough shows today where mom and dad can bring the kids and grandparents, make it a date night, fun time for teens and entertain so many generations with…’how did they do that’, ‘wow’ and ‘amazing’. This show has something for everyone.”
Santaland Diaries at Horizon Theatre Company is HaHaHa-larious!
Returning for its 17th anniversary production, Horizon Theatre Company turns “ho ho ho” into “ha ha ha” as it reprises its popular production of The Santaland Diaries by award-winning satirist David Sedaris, November 20-December 31.
This show is one of the funniest Holiday shows out there. We have found our new holiday tradition here at The Backstage Beat!
The setting for this naughty show is a Macy’s in New York City as they prepare for Santa and all the families that come to see him. Welcome to this wicked wonderland and exposé of all things elfin. Out of work and middle-aged, a writer in need of holiday cash decides to employ his gift for insightful observation in the trade of elfdom at Macy’s Department Store. Besieged by bratty kids with overzealous parents and donning a humiliating costume, he finds that his cynical self and his elfin alter ego, “Crumpet,” are not exactly compatible. His remedy for the saccharine overdose he endures in his never-endingly exuberant job is to tell all – giving us a backstage pass to the secret lives of Santas and elves. Though definitely not your traditional stocking stuffer, this caustic Christmas carol is a laughter-spiked antidote to the holiday blues. The Santaland Diaries serves up holiday cheer and sneer – and a rebel without a Claus.
Crumpet is played by Harold M. Leaver. I was truly impressed with his ability to stay in character with so much hilarity happening. He was a master at this role! What a naughty little elf!
Along with Harold, Lala Cochran and Enoch King perform as “Sidekicks” and bring the whole show together. Their various roles are both detailed and laugh out loud funny!
This is a true local masterpiece! For those of you who dare think you can’t see a great show with local talent, go see this one! But be warned, it is not for kids and the humor is not for everyone.
Give yourself a great gift this holiday season, see this show and let us know how you liked it!
Daniel Patrick Smith as Buddy in ELF! The Musical
One of the greatest holiday movies of our time is ELF! The story of a very happy and joyful elf named Buddy. Now if you remember, Buddy is not your ordinary elf, he is actually a very tall human who was raised as an elf with Santa in the North Pole. As the story goes, he leaves to go find his real father in New York City! Hilarity ensues and of course someone has to save Christmas!
The movie, which came out on 2003, featured Will Ferrell as Buddy. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill and we caught up with the guy filling those shoes in the Broadway touring musical.
Daniel Patrick Smith plays Buddy in ELF! The Musical. Daniel has an extensive background in theater and is excited to perform in Atlanta and the gorgeous Fox Theatre.
We asked Daniel about his involvement in the arts and he told us this, “I grew up in Ocean City, NJ and I started acting in theater productions after seeing my sister perform. I just felt like it was what I was suppose to do. Thankfully I had very supportive parents that allowed me to go after my dreams.” He went on to tell us about growing up in a town that was very into sports and not so much into the Arts. As we discussed this, we both agreed that it is so important for children to be exposed to the Arts at an early age and it’s beyond comprehension that they are taking them out of schools for financial reasons. He said,”I couldn’t imagine growing up and not being able to perform. My high school actually reached out to me for input on creating a theatrical program and I was honored. I am so happy to know that they have that option now. It can be life changing for someone and I support that so much.”
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