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Spring/Summer Must Do: See ‘The Little Mermaid’ at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

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For a bubbly, whimsical and truly delightful experience, make Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' ‘The Little Mermaid’ a must-do if you are young or young at heart. Currently running now until the end of the summer, it brings the sunny feel of the warmer months indoors and to life on stage.

The Little Mermaid’ is the story of Ariel (played by Caroline Innerbichler), the inquisitive and rebellious mermaid with a love for singing who longs to live in the human world, much to the chagrin of her father, King Triton (Keith Rice). When she spots the handsome Prince Eric (Tyler Michaels) above the sea, she trades her beautiful voice to Ursula the Sea Witch (Kersten Rodau) in exchange for a pair of legs. A will-they-won’t-they tension ensues about a possible first kiss, which could secure Ariel’s dream of being Prince Eric’s future wife or bind her to Ursula’s rule forever.

Following the direction of the hit Disney movie and the classic story by Hans Christian Andersen, this musical blazes a trail of its own with inventive staging, a cast of strong actors and expanded roles for characters such as Ursula and King Triton.

What would seem like a daunting task – to take a relatively small stage and present it as an expansive undersea world was done with creativity and a crisp wash of blue lighting from set designer Nayna Ramey and lighting designer Sue Ellen Berger. And how does one work around the fact that merfolk do not have legs? Costumer Rich Hamson has donned the mermaids in tails that effortlessly swish as the characters float by on legs you eventually forget are even there.

It was a treat to watch the cast as they spilled from the stage to indulge the audience with their humorous quips, colorful costumes and sea creature-like movements. While the cast was an all-around pleasure, a few performances stood out, including Caroline Innerbichler’s portrayal of Ariel (complete with her alabaster skin and tousled red locks) and Jay Albright, who brought deadpan humor to life as the hilariously misinformed seagull, Scuttle.

Don’t miss this show (brand new to the Midwest) while it runs at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres through August 30, 2014. You can catch performances eight times weekly. Ticket prices for dinner and show vary between $62 - $82. Discounts are available, including for students and seniors. Call Chanhassen Dinner Theatres for details at 952-934-1525.

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