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Published On: Tue, Aug 13th, 2013

‘Little Mermaid Jr’ brings the Disney classic to life with a junior cast in the Patel Conservatory’s ‘fast and fun’ performance

For me personally, thoughts of the The Little Mermaid bring back memories of laying on the floor with my cousins at my grandparents’ house on long lazy summer days. I was the right age for the longing of something bigger to pull all the right strings.

Maya Garcia-HectorAs if the excitement of seeing a beloved movie come to life was not enough, my daughter and I found the lobby filled with exciting activities to entertain us while waiting for the show to start.

No good Disney activity comes without a photo opportunity and we were not disappointed. There was a mermaid and Princess Ariel waiting!

Even more exciting than mermaids and princesses was the musical petting zoo. Children, and adults alike, were given the opportunity to “pet” various musical instruments.

The Little Mermaid Jr. was performed entirely by children, some of whom are the same age that I was in those aforementioned memories.

This performance was pulled together in only three weeks as part of the Patel Conservatory’s summer program. The Straz Center always make a splash with the Broadway Productions, but this program reveals an outreach to aspiring youth not always visible to the public.

These children did a splendid job of reenacting the classic tale of a young adult wanting to cut the proverbial apron strings. This camp is a way for aspiring performers to cut their teeth on a real stage with a real audience; real pressure.

Claire ready for Little Mermaid

Young fans came dressed to see ‘The Little Mermaid Jr’ presentation at the Patel Conservatory photo Terra Corbin

There were no noticeable nerves as they launched into “Fathoms Below”.

The opening night crowd was energetic and supportive of these young actors and actresses. They filled almost every seat in the auditorium. Many of the younger ones were dressed in their own under the sea attire. My own daughter was beaming in her Ariel dress.

In his speech to King Triton’s court, Sebastian praised Ariel’s voice as being “clear as glass”. Although she was young, the actress who portrayed Ariel lived up to that promise. Her future will be bright indeed if she continues to develop her talent.

The story of Ariel is expanded on in this production. She gains a mother who was recently killed by Ursula (Shalyah Fearing). She is reminded that her voice is as lovely as her mothers.

The Little Mermaid Jr. was fast moving and fun.

It was filled with familiar songs from the movie and some new additions including “Human Stuff” which featured Scuttle. Just long enough to be entertaining without being too long for the youngest guests to lose interest.

The Patel Conservatory reaches out to all ages, so check out their website for upcoming events and audition information here.

Here’s a link to more information on classes offered this school year: http://www.patelconservatory.org/Classes/Schedules/School_Year.asp. Summer Fantasy Ballet details here

Note: Brandon Jones also contributed to this article

A 'mermaid' joined Ariel for photos with fans young and old at 'The Little Mermaid Jr' photo Terra Corbin

A ‘mermaid’ joined Ariel for photos with fans young and old at ‘The Little Mermaid Jr’ photo Terra Corbin

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