AURORA – The Paramount Theatre in Aurora has once again taken a familiar classic and made it fresh.
On the heels of last season's acclaimed version of "Hairspray," director/choreographer Amber Mak has done it again with this rousing production of Disney's "The Little Mermaid."
For those not familiar with the story, "The Little Mermaid" is about a mermaid who longs to leave her enchanted underwater kingdom to find love up above. Paramount newcomer Kari Yancy seems destined to play the role of the ever optimistic Ariel, and her sunny disposition is what helps bring so much joy to the production.
Her powerful vocals also are a highlight of the production, and it's no wonder that the evil Ursula wants to keep that memorable voice for her own purposes.
Another Paramount newcomer, Christina Hall, brings the right amount of devilish charm to the role of Ursula, as well as a commanding stage presence, something else the role requires.
Other cast members such as Jonathan Butler-Duplessis – who is no stranger to the Paramount stage having starred in "A Christmas Story," "Tommy" and "In the Heights" – add to the strong overall performances in the production. Butler-Duplessis also shows off the fact he is multi-talented. Not only is he the voice of Ariel's crab friend, Sebastian, he also is tasked with controlling the strings of the puppet.
Actor George Keating, another Paramount Theatre alumnus, is also kept busy during the production, playing the dual role of Grimsby and Chef Louis. His unbridled take as Chef Louis leaves the audience in stitches and is one of the many highlights of the production.
Not to be outdone is Michael Ehlers, who turns in an incredibly charming performance as Scuttle the seagull. Along with the strong performances, eye-popping visuals, sparkling choreography and a soaring score by the Paramount Orchestra, this the perfect event for the family during this holiday season.
Because of record advance sales, Paramount Theatre has announced a one-week extension of its upcoming, holiday-season production of "The Little Mermaid." Originally scheduled for a seven-week run through Jan. 8, it will now run through Jan.15.
Disney’s "The Little Mermaid" is rated G. The Paramount Theatre is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora.
Eric Schelkopf writes about the arts and entertainment scene in Chicago at http://thetotalscene.blogspot.com. He also is an employee of Shaw Media.