Kyle Shepard, Sebastian; Braeja Chadwick, Ariel, and Isaiah McAleese, Flounder, star in Schmooze Productions’ presentation of The Little Mermaid. RACHEL STERN / The News Bulletin

Schmooze Productions takes audience members under the sea during The Little Mermaid

Nanaimo theatre company presents Disney’s The Little Mermaid: the Broadway Musical

Curious about the human world, the mermaid Ariel swims to the surface to collect human artifacts.

Her actions are forbidden, but she continues to travel to the surface in secret. During one of these trips she rescues Prince Eric and falls in love.

Ariel’s story is told during Schmooze Productions’ presentation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid: the Broadway Musical.

“It’s definitely the Disney story. It’s the family classic that everybody is going to love I think,” said Dean Chadwick, artistic director of Schmooze Productions, adding that the musical expands on the characters, providing more depth to the love story between Ariel and Prince Eric. “There is the love at first sight bit, but then you get to see it develop more which is nice.”

The theatre company has been working hard to create a feast for the eyes with costumes and set designs.

“It’s spectacular. The costumes are incredible. We’ve got almost a full ship on stage at a few different points,” said Chadwick.

Videos will be projected as backgrounds and will help lead the audience through some of the scenes.

Chadwick said he chose to bring The Little Mermaid to Nanaimo audiences because the movie is “close to his heart.” His daughters would watch the film and knew every song as children. It is also a chance for the theatre company to introduce itself to another audience.

“We haven’t really looked at younger kids, so this one fit the bill,” he said. “It’s a family–friendly professional production that I think people are going to be talking about it for a long time.”

After the show the performers will come out in costume to meet audience members. Braeja Chadwick, who stars as Ariel, said she’s excited to meet audience members in costume.

“I’m really excited for the first moment I get to go onstage and have everyone excited to see Ariel,” said Braeja.

To become Ariel, Braeja and other cast members developed comprehensive background stories on the characters.

Braeja watched The Little Mermaid several times as a child and says the song Part of Your World was one of her favourites.

“I think it’s a wonderful kids show, but I also think it’s fun for the adults to experience and to have flashbacks of your childhood,” said Braeja. “That’s why I love watching Disney movies. I still watch Disney movies. I think that maybe people don’t realize it’s very similar to the movie, so you will see all the same characters Flounder, Scuttle all the different characters and new ones. It’s a lot of fun being able to see those characters again and live.”

Choreographer Miranda Atkinson said she had a lot of fun creating the dance pieces for the musical.

“I grew up watching The Little Mermaid so it was very easy for me to sort of see things from the characters perspectives and then take my background, my training in Broadway style dance, ballet and jazz and put in what I thought suited the scene and the characters,” she said. “Creativity wise it was so much fun and getting to add your touch to something you have known your whole life is really quite fun and fascinating.”

Schmooze Productions’ presentation of The Little Mermaid runs Saturday and Sunday (June 24 and 25) at 7 p.m. with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Tickets are $40 available in advance by calling 250-754-8550 or by visiting www.porttheatre.com.

For more information about Schmooze Productions, visit www.schmoozeproductions.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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