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The Little Mermaid Review
Itís a sad day for Disney when the crown jewel of its animated features, The Little Mermaid, is treated to a limp translation on Broadway ó especially given all the money that they must have thrown at this production.

True, the original score from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (and new songs furnished by Glenn Slater) are wonderfully tuneful and joyous. Sure, itís colorful, and the skates tucked under glittery fish costumes are a swell idea to channel the fluid motion of gliding through water, but the overall impact of this show is that itís a great, big, expensive, elaborate, and overblown childrenís theater piece. Thatís not to say that the other Disney properties, like Beauty and the Beast, arenít shows made for children. But thereís a difference between a show created as an artistic endeavor that is appealing to the parents as well as the kids, and a show created with only a childrenís audience in mind.

The music and the cast are the only two positive things that this adaptation has going for it. Newcomer Sierra Boggess as Ariel, the title character, sings as beautifully as she looks. Veteran stage performer Norm Lewis, as her father, embodies royalty. Eddie Korbich as Scuttle (a seagull) is adorable, and Sherie Rene Scott as the evil Ursula is appropriately wicked. Even Sean Palmer, as the handsome Prince, is appealing.

But The Little Mermaid simply lacks finesse. George Tsypinís scenic designs and Tatiana Noginovaís costumes are rather garish, and none of it really simulates the sea because it's all so clunky. It feels manufactured with its hard plastic sheen. The team, headed by director, Francesca Zambello, shares a vision, but that concept is at odds with the very ocean and the aquatic life that theyíre trying to bring to life. The show lacks fluidity on more than one level.

Doug Wright (award winner for I Am My Own Wife and book writer for Grey Gardens) has created a script thatís unengaging and the result of this mťlange of unbridled color is an unfocused and dull mess lacking the most important ingredient for a show such as this ó heart. Itís difficult not to compare it unfavorably to The Lion King because while that show has a sweeping majesty that sits alongside unencumbered emotions, The Little Mermaid is completely out of balance.

By Lesley Alexander

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Open/Close Dates
Opening 11/3/2007
Closing 8/30/2009

Box Office
(212) 307-4747

Theatre Info
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
205 West 46th Street
New York, NY 10036