Front Row Reviewers

May 27, 2024 | Reviews

The Draper Arts Council’s Performance of The Little Mermaid Is Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers

By Alayna, Eliza, and Melissa Een

The Draper Arts Council and Draper City production of The Little Mermaid makes a splash at the Draper Amphitheater this summer with a fun and family-friendly show everyone will love. Ariel, the youngest of King Triton’s seven daughters, longs to know more about the forbidden world of humans. After saving Prince Eric from a shipwreck, she falls in love. She makes a deal with her Aunt Ursula, the sea witch, surrendering her voice to become human for three days with the hope that Eric will kiss her and make the transformation permanent. Assisted by Scuttle the scatterbrained seagull, Sebastian the encumbered crab, and the fluttering Flounder, Ariel finds her place in the world above and faces the problems stewing under the sea. The musical follows the beloved 1990s movie with additional songs and some twists. Director and choreographer Susan DeMills brings the cast together in a spectacular production for a fairytale dream come true. 

Ariel, princess of the sea and stage, is played by Amanda Frisby, who delights as the excited and curious girl with fiery red hair and a matching spirit. Frisby’s talented vocals and emotive expression are astounding, and we especially enjoyed “Beyond my Wildest Dreams.” Whether on two legs or with a tail, Frisby’s movements are graceful and connect her with other characters, especially as she dances with Danny Keetch (Prince Eric) in “One Step Closer.” This is one of my favorite songs added for the musical, and Keetch shows off his skills in the ballroom while maintaining smooth vocals throughout their shared choreography. 

There are several loveable sidekicks of the sea and sky that add life and laughter to the performance. Ariel’s attentive best friend Flounder is performed by John Arntz and Patrick Despain on alternate days. The scolding but secretly sensitive Sebastian is Chad Smith, who makes the role look like a lot of fun, smoothly ad-libbing some additional jokes and dazzling the audience with more than just his sparkling shoes. Sam Martinez’s Scuttle, a self-proclaimed expert on “human stuff,” is certainly an expert in humor, bringing confidence and comedy to his scenes. Even Prince Eric’s dog, Max, is paw-erfully portrayed by the adorable and well-trained Harper Frisby.

Spinning around on heelys and hoverboards, Ariel’s merfamily confidently glides through the show, giving powerful performances. The Mersisters (Lizzie Burget, Brielle Denning, Addison Horrocks, Abbie Ricord, Olivia Shelton, Miranda Stokes) and Flounder share the stage for “She’s in Love,” a bubbly song that is always one of my favorites, and which this cast performs especially well. King Triton (Mike Handy) strikes an impressive figure onstage, showing both a commanding presence and a softer, paternal side in “If Only.” 

Our eight-legged antagonist, Ursula (Naomi McClure), and her ev-eel sidekicks Flotsam (Jessica Duncan) and Jetsam (Alyx Rees) are hilariously and delightfully sinister. McClure brings her character to life with a smooth glamor. Duncan and Rees are equally enchanting: their snide banter and cackling laughter are sure to capture the audience’s hearts—if not the seven seas—as they rollerblade through their scenes with twin grins.

The ocean teems with life as colorfully costumed (Katie Whiteley, Sidsie Drysdale) ensemble members dance in expertly choreographed scenes, including the overture! With such a large ensemble, it is especially impressive that everyone on stage, from little rainbow fish to iridescent anemones, fully commit to and skillfully execute the robust choreography (Susan DeMill choreography, Eliza Hebdon dance captain). We especially enjoyed “Under the Sea.” The ensemble ensures that there is never a dull moment for the audience, as stories and shenanigans are shaped in the background of scenes, adding new and exciting layers to this well-known story.  Some of the most magical moments are due to Benjamin Merrell and the flying crew, and two performers (Kenli Hofhine, Paisley Seiler) in Ariel silks who elevate the ensemble numbers with dazzling and gravity-defying movements.

The attention to detail in the set, props, and backdrops complement the high-quality performance to create a show that is positoovly worth swapping your fins for. So bring your family and friends over to the Draper Ampitheater for the The Draper Arts Counci’s production of The Little Mermaid. Sea you there!

The Draper Arts Council Presents The Little Mermaid. Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater. Book by Doug Wright. Based on the Hans Christian Andersen Story and Disney film.
Draper City Amphitheater, 944 Vestry Rd, Draper, UT 84020
May 24–June 7, 2024, 8:00 PM
Tickets: Adults $10–12; Children under 3 are free
Draper Arts Council Facebook Page
Draper Arts Council Website

Disclaimer: Shows may be postponed or canceled in cases of severe inclement weather, but if you prepare for the elements you’re sure to have a wonderful time under the sea! 

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers


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