Thursday, July 21, 2011

Part of Your World

Last week, I got to see The Little Mermaid here live on stage at The Muny, our local outdoor theater.  I had been dying to see it ever since it came out on Broadway, but knew I'd never get to New York.  So, as soon as I found out it was coming to town, I immediately bought tickets. 

As far as the show, it was pretty darn good.  There were a few things I didn't care for, the sets were relatively sparse and the guy playing Sebastian (a Jamaican crab, of course) was Asian.  (Not that there's any thing wrong with someone not Jamaican playing him, just that it was quite distracting watching someone Asian trying to accomplish a Jamaican accent.  It didn't go very well.)

But watching the show, I couldn't help but think...they really should make some changes to the Voyage of the Little Mermaid attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid, a theatrical production of the story of the movie The Little Mermaid, debuted in 1992...almost 20 years exactly and the show is relatively close to the same as it was when it first started showing, which has been cut down drastically from the actual movie.

But after 20 years and with new technology, this attraction could use an extensive upgrade, plus, since the new Broadway show has been introduced, there are some things that I think that were included in the Broadway version that could easily be brought in to enhance this attraction at the Studios.  (I will preface this with the fact that I'm sure that because ours was a presentation of a Broadway show in an outdoor theater, some of the effects weren't quite the same.  I am taking that into consideration.) 

First of all, I would love to see them at least double the length of the show.  Right now, it clocks in at about 17 minutes.  That is not near enough time to show a quality retelling of this classic movie.  I would like to see this attraction at least double in length.  I know they are capable of having long shows in the parks, I mean Finding Nemo at Disney's Animal Kingdom is about 45 minutes long itself, so it should be no problem updating this attraction to around 30 minutes at least.   

Now because they cut the movie into 17 quick minutes, they told a lot of the story via video.  My next suggestion would be to not rely so heavily on video screens.  The majority of Voyage is made up of video screens.  To me, it's basically like watching the movie with a little bit of live interaction thrown in.  I would love to see more live action.  There is a ton that is missing here because of the screens (and because of the time factor again) that would be so great to see played out on stage.

And that brings me to my next little gripe.  Please, for the love of pete...have Prince Eric talk himself!  There is no reason that poor boy can't say his own lines.

Now, if they lengthened the show, I would definitely fix up both the beginning and the end of this show.  You have lovely middle parts with great performances with Ariel singing Part of Your World and Sebastian singing Under The Sea.  Oh and don't forget the scene with Ursala, but the beginning and middle...don't'll miss them.  The beginning is the most stunted.  We see the ship and then all the sudden Sebastian is singing Under the Sea.  (Which by the way, Part of Your World comes before this song in the movie, but I get why you did it the way you did it makes more sense in the storytelling on stage with this performance.  Another reason the attraction should be updated.)  I would really like to see both the beginning and the end fleshed out a bit more.  Show us more of the story.  What about a Kiss the Girl scene?  Or seeing Ariel meet Eric?  You can do a lot of different things to expand on this great story.  Plus, you can still rely on the video screens to do the parts that are too difficult to do on such a small stage, but give us a bit more meat to our show.

Lastly, while I like most of the effects that the theater has (like the rain and the lightning), please, please, please, get rid of the lasers!  It is 2011!  We don't do lasers anymore...least of all lasers that look like they were created in the 90s!  It is not a cool effect anymore.  Please take it out and change it.

The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite movies of all time.  I would love to be able to see an updated version of the Live Show at Walt Disney World.  I know we're getting a great new attraction in Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid, but that's at the Magic Kingdom.  It's high time this attraction saw some quality love.

What are your thoughts?  What would you change with the attraction?  What would you keep?


Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

I missed the show at the Muny this time around - I was so bummed! I heard it was really fun.

As for the attraction at Disney, would you believe I have never seen it? I was making plans to see it on my birthday trip in September but then one of your blog posts told me it was going to be down for refurb, I think, when we're there. Bummer.

Stelle and Chelle said...

Hey! I seriously agree with everything you just said here. I seem to have a love/hate relationship with this show simply because I know how much BETTER it could be. I absolutely loved the Broadway play and they really need to incorporate some aspects from that into this show.

Also, you forgot one major thing this show also needs- Ariels who can actually SING. It NEVER fails! I always get the actress who successfully butchers the music and it makes me cringe every time. Doesn't anyone in Orlando have a good voice? haha -Chelle