by Lorie Lewis Ham
This weekend we went to see Little Mermaid Jr. presented by Children’s Musical Theaterworks (CMT) in Fresno. I had never seen a Jr. production of a show before, nor had I seen one of CMT’s productions where the cast ranges in age from 13 to 18 (I have only seen their Underground shows), so I didn’t know what the expect. What followed was a lovely evening with a show presented by some very talented kids.
If there are still any out there not familiar with the story of the Little Mermaid–the basic plot is this: Ariel is a mermaid and the youngest daughter of the King of the Sea, King Triton. But Ariel is obsessed with the human world, and longs to see what it is like to be human–especially after she falls in love with a human prince, Prince Eric. She trades her beautiful voice to the evil sea witch Ursula for legs in hopes of winning his love. Ariel’s best friends are a crab named Sebastian, a fish named Flounder, and a bird named Scuttle. For those who have seen the movie, but not the musical, at least in the Jr. version there are a few things that are different. However, you will still hear many iconic songs like “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”
As is typically the case with CMT shows, this one is double cast–we saw the Atlantic cast. In this cast, Ariel was played by Hailey Strahm. She did a wonderful job of acting the part, looked lovely, and sang lovely. Hudson Short played Eric and definitely looked the part. Sebastian was played by Leah Ghermay–her accent and dancing were great, and she was very funny. Flounder was played by Abigail Halpern, who was adorable and had a sweet voice as well. Ursula was played by Hannah Huyck who was absolutely amazing! She has a strong, wonderful voice and was perfectly evil and menacing in the role.
Costumes were great, set was good, and the special effects were exceptional. This was the directorial debut of Fresno actor Daniel Hernandez and he did a wonderful job (he has directed things like GCP’s Jr. Co, but this is his first time directing a show). Sadly, we are losing him to school in Southern California and he will be missed greatly by the local theatre scene.
As I said before, this show was performed by a talented bunch of kids, and it is a perfect show to take the entire family to for a fun night at the theatre. I can’t wait to see some of these kids on stage in the future as adults! Little Mermaid Jr. performs through August 17 at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, 2425 Fresno Street in Fresno. Tickets can be purchased at the door or on their website.
Check out more local arts and entertainment articles in KRL’s A & E section.