Saturday, March 16, 2013

THE LITTLE MERMAID JR: McNair Theatre / Rockledge, FL (3.15.13)

The Little Mermaid Jr.
McNair Theatre / Rockledge, FL

Florida's Space Coast is a community 
dedicated to the arts — particularly 
when it comes to nurturing teenage
talent. In fact, I've had the pleasure 
of attending recent local youth
performances of such productions as
Oklahoma! and Beauty and the Beast.
And I was delighted to have attended 
this past week's teen recreation of
The Little Mermaid (Jr).

It was standing room only by the time I arrived at the McNair Magnet School theater in Rockledge, Florida for the 10:30AM performance of The Little Mermaid Jr. on March 15.

Presented by the school's Musical Theatre classes, "Mermaid Jr." is an abbreviated hour-long version of Disney's 1989 animated musical fantasy film. I certainly was familiar with Hans Christian Anderson's epic story and its legendary characters, however, I'd never seen the iconic movie. Hence, as a newbie, I didn't know what to expect.

McNair students present
The Little Mermaid Jr. 
In short, The Little Mermaid is a classic love story. A beautiful mermaid princess named Ariel becomes curious about life beyond the sea. With her best friend, a guppy named Flounder, Ariel goes against the wishes of her father, King Triton and ventures out to experience the human world firsthand. During her journey, Ariel meets and falls for a handsome prince named Eric — a forbidden love to be sure. As her adventure unfolds, Ariel also is accompanied by her ever-faithful cohorts, Scuttle the seagull and Sebastian the crab.

Unfortunately, Ariel's pursuit of her one true love is soon thwarted as a pair of eels named  Flotsam and Jetsam con  her into visiting the evil sea witch named Ursula with the promise of ensuring her union with Eric. The na├»ve and lovestruck princess falls for Ursula's ruse. She accepts a deal with the evil witch and further tribulation ensues. But in the end, Ursula is defeated and true love ultimately prevails.

Wow, things sure have changed since my middle school days. The kids in our community today are blessed with unbelievable opportunities. And they enjoy the kind of top notch production and facilities that I could only dream of at their age.

The McNair Theatre was SRO!
I was one of the few VIPs lucky enough
to get a photo with Flounder!
To say simply that this young ensemble did a great job would be to understate their incredible talent. In fact, from the audience, it was often easy to lose sight that these actors were mere teenagers. Madelyn D. was absolutely superb in her starring role as Ariel, while David W. played Prince Eric quite convincingly. Kudos also are in order for outstanding performances from Sean N. as King Triton, Preston N. as Sebastian and Tyler B. as Grimsby. For her part, Alyssa D. was not only believable, but downright scary as Ursula. And her two hench(wo)men, Bailey R. and Rylee S. as Flotsam and Jetsam were plain ol' mean and evil (yes, that's a compliment). 

On the lighter side, Whitney B. was an absolute scene stealer as Ariel's fishy friend, Flounder. Additionally, Victoria D. had me laughing out loud more than once as Scuttle. And Jaina O. was a total riot as Chef Louis.

In sum, this was an incredible production. The acting, singing and dancing was fabulous, the costumes were  impeccable  and the set designs were major league. I also would like to compliment McNair Magnet School — Where the Arts & Intellect Intersect. The campus was beautiful, the staff was friendly and the students truly are gifted. Congratulations!                        

-Christopher Long
(March 2013)

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1 comment:

  1. Can you ask the girl who played flounder where she bought things for her costume