The show must go on, my Serenbe Playhouse ‘Little Mermaid’ experience.
FAMILY! I got to see Opening Night of The Little Mermaid at Serenbe Playhouse and I must applaud this cast. Theatre is about the recovery, if you mess up a line but recover well you just won the audience.
At the end of the last number, the sound cut out. The orchestra somehow was disconnected and wasn’t coming through the speakers. This cast finished that song and in just enough time for the sound to get connected again. THEY FINISHED THE NUMBER WITH NO MUSIC. The audience was on its feet. An audience will forever respect the recovery and dedication to the show. That alone sold me on this show and this cast and on that alone, I say go see this production!
I must shout out this costume designer! This is like a cosplayer’s dream, this is the reimagining of ‘The Little Mermaid’ I’ve been waiting for. I love these designs, it’s almost hyper realistic but also manages to stay true to the Disney feel. It still manages to appeal to the kid in the audience while also being the coolest thing ever to the older theatre goers.
The set is also completely different from any other production of this show. Serenbe is already producing one of a kind theatre experiences but this isn’t like any of the shows it’s put on. It’s one of the most ambitious productions since its production of ‘Miss Saigon’. All of the set pieces are made from their ‘Trash to Treasure’ recycling initiative. These huge set pieces are made from what some would call trash and now they’ve been repurposed. This was just genius.
If you don’t see this production for any other reason, go for these vocals. They are SANGIN, it’s not a word, but I said what I said. These vocal chords are covered in honey, anointed oils, and the snatched wigs of audiences past. They are giving full belt, they are giving all of the options, up, down, and everywhere. There’s a showstopping number at every turn. At one point, Deborah Bowman walked up to me, snatched my wig, eyelashes, and even my voice because she’s serving option up realness!!
In this breakdown, I’m going to group together characters with who they’re with most. Let’s get into it!
Austin Tijerina as Scuttle: No other person could’ve played this role. If you’ve met Austin, you can literally feel energy coming from him. He’s almost electric, his energy is as high as it gets. Watch the face of the audience members around you when he’s onstage, all you’ll see is smiles. His performance is full of ‘positoovity’ BOOM song pun! But it is really a great performance.
Kenny Tran as Flounder: THE CASTING! Serenbe somehow always finds the right person for a role. Kenny is a perfect choice for flounder! He just plays this role well, I was like “Man, flounder is such a good friend, I need a flounder.” I said I needed a cartoon character to be my friend. He played the role so well, I wanted to be his friend, you get endless applause for that.
Brian Jordan and Jordan Patrick as Flotsam and Jetsam: I just like these guys as a duo, they just work. They’re creepy, hilarious, and manage to not upstage each other. They just click well and still manage to serve their purpose as henchmen.
Terry Smith as Grimsby: I wish it was socially acceptable to use clapping emojis right now. He turned a generic character into a fully dimensioned person. I love it. He didn’t have to play him like a ‘bumbling fool’ but just as a normal person. and because of him being a person instead of a character, his comedic moments were maximized. Then we relate more, and his moments are more impactful and are better than they were originally.
Derek Dixon as King Triton: I enjoyed the way he changed when in conversation with some characters. How he was softer with Ariel than he was with his employee, Sebastian. I enjoyed that aspect of his performance and they casted a great person in the role. Like King Triton, he’s physically powerful and because of that his emotional moments shine more.
Chase Peacock as Prince Eric: To any casting directors, cast him as a Disney prince every chance you get. EVERY. CHANCE. I wouldn’t be surprised if when Alan Menken is writing music he imagines Chase’s voice. His voice is so rich he could only play Leading men, like that’s his type. That’s it. SIDE NORE: Any casting directors of ‘Wicked’, He’d be a bomb Fiyero….sooooo do that.
Deb Bowman as Ursula: The Queen. She’s giving you Madonna meets Ursula with Celine Dion’s belt. She’s giving you sexy Ursula and a FULL belt. I’d suggest bringing a pair of shoes to throw per number because she’s singing for her entire life. It’s a little morbid but when I die, if you could play Deb’s version of ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ I’d appreciate it. Yes Ma’am, YES.
India Tyree as Sebastian: Okay, maybe it’s just me but Sebastian just works as a female. Sebastian works for India. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love India and she can do no wrong in my eyes. I’ve sung with her and listened to her a lot and I’m still SHOOKETH every time I hear her. She’s insane. If this is a date night, when you go to buy a pair of shoes for Deb, also buy your partner a pair to throw at India. There are some moments where I went “How?!?”. I said that, out loud. Just the vocals, my God.
Niki Badua as Ariel: BELLLLLLLLLLLLT! She’s giving notes the entire show. Not one note is misplaced, she is the Ariel we deserve. Possibly the only time I could say a performance was perfect. She hit It all really felt natural. This is the Ariel you want your kids to see, if this is your child’s favorite movie, go see Nikki. She really is Ariel, there is no other way for me to restate this, just go see her and live your best life and be ‘A part of her world’. Yup, #disneypuns
It runs from now until April 22nd at Serenbe Playhouse, go see it! If you go on the right night, you might even find me in the audience because I’m definitely going back. Buy tickets here!!