If you have ever longed to be “Under the Sea,” ride the wave over to the MCT Center for the Performing Arts, as the Missoula Community Theatre presents “Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” April 26-May 13.
Ariel, the adventurous mermaid, gives her voice to Ursula the Sea Witch in exchange for legs and the opportunity for love on land.
This travel between land and sea, and encounters with both humans and aquatic creatures, was easily accomplished in the animated version. But, says director Joseph Martinez, it creates big, exciting challenges when staging a live musical with more than 40 cast members who don’t naturally have fins.
“Animated Ariel swims through the water, as mermaids often do, with the help of her tail. On stage, it takes wires, a harness, pulleys, and some strong people to make that illusion happen,” the director says.
The sheer size of the technical elements of this production is pretty incredible, he adds. “The costume, scene, and prop shops have had to create many different looks for a production of this magnitude.”
Within the matrix of technical elements is the music, which underscores every moment of the show. Music director James Rio is conducting the flow of the music, while Heather Adams has created the infusion of choreography into the current of music.
Martinez revealed that the story line in the stage version has been elaborated to give the characters more depth. “We find out more about Ariel’s mother and what makes Ursula so evil. There’s a little more backstory to Flounder and his relationship to Ariel. Plus, there are a few added characters.”
The cast, he says, has been awesome. Despite the unknowns in a rehearsal process for a show this big, “they have trusted that we will, together, come out the other end successful in telling this story.”
He is confident that the audience will thoroughly enjoy being “A Part of that World.”
Show times for Disney’s The Little Mermaid are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays, April 26-May 13 (Premiere Night is April 26; and the Autism Spectrum Adapted Performance is May 8). Tickets are available at MCTinc.org; by calling 406-728-PLAY (7529); or at the MCT Box Office, which is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.