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Mermaid Spied in Southampton

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 11:44
Cast members of “The Little Mermaid” performed “She’s in Love” during rehearsal.
Bethany Dellapolla

“The Little Mermaid” will swim ashore at the Southampton Cultural Center tomorrow for the first of 11 performances of the Disney classic musical. Directed and choreographed by Bethany Dellapolla, with musical direction by John Tocco, the production will include all of the songs from the film, which garnered Oscars for best original score and best original song (“Under the Sea”) for the composer, Alan Menken.

Ms. Dellapolla, who is also an actor and has appeared onstage at the cultural center, directed the play twice before, but this is her first time at the helm of a Center Stage production.

She pointed out that it is a staged concert, in which everything is staged and choreographed but with some necessary curtailing of the Disney spectacle. “Center Stage was built for concerts, not as a theater production space,” she said. “I can’t bring a full ship onstage, and I can’t make Ariel float in the air and lose her tail. The challenge was to bring some of the Disney magic within the confines of the space, and I think we’ve done that.”

Disney’s animated film and Broadway musical were based on an 1837 fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. “The Little Mermaid” was originally planned as part of one of Walt Disney’s earliest feature films in the 1930s, but it didn’t reach the screen until 1989.

The Disney version, which differs to some extent from Andersen’s tale, is a love story in which Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, witnesses a shipwreck, rescues Prince Eric, and then falls for him. Forbidden by her father from venturing on land, she makes a Faustian bargain with Ursula the sea witch: Ariel will be transformed into a human with legs but must sacrifice her voice.

Ms. Dellapolla, who divides her time between East Hampton and New York, taught acting at the Gateway Playhouse in Bellport for seven years and founded NexGen Youth Theatre in Manhattan, which provides a training ground for aspiring young thespians.

The cast features Hannah Faye Huizing as Ariel, Michael Drozd as Prince Eric, Kimet Speed as Ursula, Adam Fronc as Sebastian, Jonathan Fogarty as Scuttle, Zoe Engeldrum as Flounder, and John Tramontana as King Triton.

Musical accompaniment will be provided by a six-person band, and costumes have been created by Katrina Lovett. Performances will take place through Oct. 27 on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30, $15 for students under 21. Dinner-theater and brunch-theater packages are available.