DTA Review: “The Little Mermaid” brings visual spectacle to Paramount stage in downtown Aurora


Ariel gets her legs and tries them out with a little help from her land friends in “The Little Mermaid,” now live on stage at Paramount Theatre until Jan. 15. The show is full of puppetry and incredible visual displays. Courtesy Paramount Theatre.

“The Little Mermaid” is currently amazing audiences at the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora. The Disney musical, a beloved film, comes to life on stage under the direction of Amber Mak.

The story, a timeless tale of seemingly-impossible love, begins with the dichotomy of life above the sea and below the land. A boat appears and Ariel’s curiosity blooms.

From that moment on, the Paramount delivers a visually stunning performance that allows the audience to get lost in a “mysterious and beautiful underwater world,” as Mak writes in her Director’s Notes.

The bright and colorful set is enhanced by every carefully-crafted costume, wig, puppet, and painted face. No detail goes unnoticed. Even more so, no detail is ignored.

As soon as Flounder woos the crowd with cuteness, the puppetry becomes the show’s biggest star. A show-stopping number comes later as Scuttle seems to multiply before our eyes – great job, Gulls.

“Under the Sea” is perhaps the most delicious visual feast of “The Little Mermaid” as black lights and gorgeous choreography come together in a sensory fête. Sebastian, played by Jonathan Butler-Duplessis is a favorite in the show.

Kari Yancy does an impressive job as Ariel with her coveted voice. Ursula, played magnificently by Christina Hall, is boosted by Flotsam, Jetsam and some talented dancers, who could easily be listed alongside Hall in the Playbill.

Prince Eric is dreamy, yet palatable as played by Devin DeSantis. He fell in love with a voice, and he is not giving up. Of course, Ariel and Prince Eric barely have a second to get to know one another or even kiss, but it is Disney and we end up cheering for them.

The father/daughter story holds up well in the stage production with King Triton, played by Evan Tyrone Martin. Kudos to the hair stylist.

“The Little Mermaid” is not just for kids, either. It’s for anyone who enjoys an amazing stage performance full of color and life. It’s for anyone who appreciates puppets and well-crafted costumes and dynamic scenery. It’s also for anyone who likes creativity and visual spectacle.

With Jeff Awards under its belt, the Paramount is not slowing down or showing any signs of old age. They are clearly in their prime. The Paramount is bringing new life to musicals and we’re lucky to be along for the ride.

“The Little Mermaid” is rated G and runs through Jan. 15 at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora. Due to the popularity of the show, the Paramount extended the show by one week.

Call the Box Office at (630) 896-6666 for tickets.

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