Mermaids on parade

Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Disney’s The Little Mermaid, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 2 and 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday; $30-$70. Music Circus at Wells Fargo Pavilion, 1419 H Street; (916) 557-1999; Through July 22.

Wells Fargo Pavilion

1419 H St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
Rated 4.0

Music Circus’ theater-in-the-round is perfect for Disney’s The Little Mermaid. It helps put visually stunning costumes, makeup, set design, lighting and choreography right up front. Upon entering, the audience is generously treated to an air-conditioning system on full blast and a sea-foam green kelp forest. Once underway, the sea seems to engulf the entire audience, as colorful dancing fish circle and float between aisles. Though much of the action happens center stage, the cast also runs around to every corner of the theater, bringing the production all the way to the back row.

The stage version of Disney’s The Little Mermaid borrows much of the plot and songs from the 1989 animated film, which was—loosely, given the singing crustaceans—based on the Hans Christian Andersen children’s story. It debuted on Broadway in 2008, closed in 2009, and subsequently toured the United States and internationally. The score features music by Oscar-winning film composer Alan Menken, with original lyrics from the film by Howard Ashman and new lyrics by Glenn Slater.

Vocally, Eric Kunze (Prince Eric)—who visited this stage last year as Chris in Miss Saigon—steals the show. Given his strong voice and broad vocal range, it’s not surprising that Kunze regularly plays lead roles in Broadway productions. Jessica Grove, as the mermaid Ariel, is also an outstanding singer, and the two seem fitting as lead Disney characters. Merwin Foard (King Triton) and Vicki Lewis (Ursula) bring their voice-acting flair to the stage. Lewis in particular adds comic relief while exuding the patented Disney over-the-top evilness.