Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Review: Disney’s The Little Mermaid At The Walnut Street Theatre

The Walnut Street Theatre continues its 213th season with the breathtaking Broadway hit for all ages, Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Directed by Glenn Casale and choreographed by John MacInnis, the production began previews on November 16, 2021, opened November 24, and continues through January 2, 2022 on the Walnut’s Mainstage. I was fortunate enough to attend opening night. Read on for more information about The Little Mermaid and my thoughts on the show.

Photo Credit: Mark Garvin

Based on the beloved Hans Christian Andersen story and the classic film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful story of love and letting go. Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, challenges her father’s authority as she dreams of finding her own way in the world above the sea. But what will she give up to fulfill her dreams of independence? Disney’s The Little Mermaid will capture audiences’ hearts with its timeless story and irresistible songs, including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World.” Disney’s The Little Mermaid promises to be one of the most spectacular productions ever staged at the Walnut! And spectacular it is. Watching these songs and characters come to life on stage was a glorious experience for everyone in attendance, including myself.

The 1989 animated film, written & directed by John Musker & Ron Clements, features iconic music and lyrics written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, respectively. It won two Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (“Under the Sea”) and is widely credited with launching The Disney Renaissance of the ‘90s. In 2008, the film was adapted for the Broadway stage with additional lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Doug Wright. The Walnut’s production marks the Philadelphia professional regional premiere of this stage musical.

Disney’s Beauty & The Beast is my favorite musical. It’s enchanting and a testament to the potential of bringing classic animated films — which already feature iconic music — to the stage, further expanding on what made them great in the first place. Aladdin is another wonderful musical adaptation I’ve seen and thoroughly enjoyed.

The Little Mermaid is just as joyful, infectious, and magnificent as the aforementioned Disney musicals, and the Walnut Street Theatre’s production of this show is spot on. It’s the perfect musical for families, or, frankly, anyone, to see this holiday season because it’s appealing for all ages, and it will fill you with joy, hope, and love — feelings we need more of heading into the new year. Make sure to buy your tickets now, so you don’t miss out!

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