Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 02:09
Levi Squier ’14 plays Scuttle, a dim but well-meaning seagull.
The ensemble, with creative costumes, sang the final number.
Prince Eric’s admirers sing to him, hoping for marriage.
The highly anticipated 24 hour musical, produced jointly by the Hillel Theater Group and Tympanium Euphorium, staged The Little Mermaideleh on Monday night to a full house in the Shapiro Campus Center Theater. The show, which lasted over two hours, was attended by alumni, senior members of the University administration and hundreds of students. This year, over 60 students were casted and over 40 students assisted through their work in the technical crew. The show was received enthusiastically by audience members, who cheered for their peers in each scene and promptly offered a standing ovation at the show’s conclusion.
Similar to other years, the show was in high demand by the student body. Ticket lines lengthened very quickly and a live video stream was setup in the Shapiro Campus Center Atrium to accommodate the large overflow crowd.
The Little Mermaideleh, directed by Viktoria Lange ’13, Ell Getz ’13 and Yoni Bronstein ’13, contained the plot of the well-known Disney movie The Little Mermaid but with a small Jewish twist to it. Ariel (Caley Chase ’16), a mermaid who lives under the sea, falls in love with the human Prince Eric (David Getz ’15). However, as a mermaid, she cannot live with a human on land. This view is supported by her strict father Triton (Zane Relethford ’13), as well as her friends Sebastian (Jason Dick ’14), a comical crab with a Jamaican accent, Flounder (Kate Davis ’14), a fish that always seems worried and Scuttle (Levi Squier ’14), an absentminded but well-intentioned seagull.
The evil sea witch Ursula (Eliza Dumais ’14) offers to give Ariel human legs in exchange for her voice so that she has a chance to live with Prince Eric. However, Ariel must be kissed by a human or else she must relinquish her soul to Ursula. Despite Ursula’s attempts to keep Ariel’s soul and pose as a human to wed Eric herself, Ariel destroys Ursula’s magic and, in the end, receives her father’s blessings to marry Eric. The play concludes with the wedding of Eric and Ariel with the whole ensemble present. Throughout the show, the cast included lines with references to Jewish culture, such as referring to Flounder as “gefilte fish” and Eric asking Ariel if her name was “Rachel,” “Rebecca” or “Leah,” a reference to women of the Bible.
Dumais, as the ominous, seductive and sassy Ursula, stole the show, along with her well-dressed and possessed followers. Dumais projected her voice so powerfully and naturally that she not only entranced her “biddies” but her audience too. Her sass dominated the stage through poisonous vibes, which contaminated everybody with a jaw-dropping silence.
The innocence of the show was conveyed by Ariel. Chase had a singing voice that sounded uncannily like Ariel from the Disney movie, capturing the admiration of the audience in each number. Dick, starring as Sebastian, naturally adopted his character’s outspoken, comical nature and trademark Jamaican accent. His main musical number, “Under the Sea,” proved to be the audience’s favorite. It involved both Dick’s strong acting skills and creative dancing from the ensemble. Max, the outrageous Pikachu-dressed dog with mop hair, (Jake Altholz ’15), stood out as he playfully interrupted intimate moments between Ariel and Eric, sometimes revealing an even funnier chemistry between Eric and Max himself.
Other notable performances included the jovial knife-wielding Chef Louis, (Sarah Pace ’13), and Carlotta, (Eliana Light ’13), who addressed people with an impressive sing-song voice. Joey Rosen ’14 also comically officiated the wedding between Ariel and Prince Eric, taking over for his brother Herbie Rosen ’12, who frequently played the wedding officiant in student theater productions before he graduated.
The 24-hour musical, however, would not be complete without slip-ups and mishaps. Accidents such as David Getz’s tongue slip of the word “whore” left the audience hysterical. The usual uncoordinated lighting and technological mishaps were greeted with laughter from the audience and cast alike.
The audience engaged with the participants very comfortably, which helped sustain the momentum of the play.
“I thought that it was very fun and very funny,” said Laili Amighi ’14, who watched the show inside the theater. “In comparison with past 24-hours musicals, this one was very engaging with the audience.”