A joyous celebration — one likely to delight both young and old — is taking place at The Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston through July 28, courtesy of Broadway Blockbusters.
It goes by the name of “The Little Mermaid,” and it’s a live theatrical rendering of the popular Hans Christian Andersen story and Disney film, but there’s scarcely anything small about it.
A talented cast of 40, under the steadfast direction of Andrew J. Koslosky, fills the huge stage, which becomes the underwater locale for this tale of a beautiful young mermaid named Ariel who longs to experience life in the world above.
To paraphrase one of the show’s most famous songs, there are costumes and special effects galore, not to mention a crackerjack orchestra, cartoon-like settings and a lighting scheme that adds the finishing touch.
From the opening moments, the audience is overwhelmed with the sights and sounds that emanate from the stage.
Lisa Bondi shines throughout, whether under the sea or on the land where she yearns to be. She is ideally paired with Richard Masin, as the gallant if somewhat girl-shy Prince Eric. They look great together and sing beautifully, too.
Koslosky makes for a fierce but ultimately loving King Triton, always having his seven daughters’ best interest at heart. As his sister, the evil sea witch Ursula, Monica Maddock delivers one of the show’s most powerful numbers, “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” with gusto.
Offering considerable comic relief are Donald Gormanly, as the king’s court composer crab, Sebastian, entrusted with the impossibly catchy “Under the Sea”; Dan Stravino, who, in a cameo as a royal chef, cooks up plenty of laughs along with his pot full of fish; Marco Vittozzi, as Ariel’s best friend, Flounder, who swims about with relish; and Tara Mangione, as a fluttering seagull named Scuttle.
Giovanni Vittozzi is properly dignified as the prince’s personal advisor; Bethany Pincus and Gianna Varrassi sing and move well as a pair of Ursula’s minions; and all six of Ariel’s sisters are pretty and sing sweetly.
The entire cast, from the youngest to the oldest, blend into a seamless ensemble.
Kudos to the estimable music director Patrick White; choreographers Masin and Alyssa Pitaluga for the diverse dance moves; technical director Tim Morgenstern; lighting technician Steven Kristie; sound and effects technician Matthew Henderson; and, most heartily, to Francine Morgenstern, who conceived the endless array of colorful and creative costumes.