The Little Mermaid by Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, PA
March 6, 2019
Review submitted by Molly Levine of Upper Merion Area High School
The Little Mermaid at Cardinal O’Hara was a captivating tale from “Fathoms Below” to “The World Above!”
Inspired by the fairytale and hit Disney movie, The Little Mermaid is a favorite of kings and crustaceans alike. The fiery yet kind Ariel finds herself longing to be in another world, the world of the one she adores, Prince Eric. Strict parents, sea witches, and the ocean are not strong enough barriers to separate true love, as learned in this compelling story of devotion and acceptance.
Cardinal O’Hara’s production of The Little Mermaid was a fun-filled voyage filled with skilled vocalists, dynamic ensembles, and a show-stealing set.
Ariel and Prince Eric were at the helm of the production, navigating challenging music while maintaining steady character development throughout the performance. Sandra Parisiou’s uplifting vocals and compassionate disposition won the hearts of all, not only the Prince. Ryan Garvey brought depth to the character of Prince Eric through a resonating performance in the endearing “Her Voice.”
Sebastian (Dylan Rooney) served as the anchor of the cast with comic timing balanced with sweet solos in ballads “Kiss the Girl” and “If Only.” Scuttle (Jack Williamson) was the lookout for every available laugh, landing each pun with unbelievable physicality and strong vocals. Rowing the show to success was the numerous ensembles throughout who impressed with their accomplished choreography and layered harmonies. The Mersisters bickered like real siblings and delivered song after song with spunk and power. “Positoovity” was especially memorable thanks to the Gulls who tapped away all of Ariel’s problems.
No matter how skilled the sailors were, where would they be without the boat? The production teams built a firm foundation with sets, transitions, and great sound to make it possible for the actors to embark on their voyage. The unique designs for each set piece highlighted each setting from the eerie atmosphere of Ursula’s Lair to the regal palace of Prince Eric. Sam Polito did a commendable job as Stage Manager as the stage crew was hard at work making scene transitions as smooth and quick as possible. With an enormous cast featuring many performers, sound would appear to be an impossible task, but not to Vince Nicosia and Matt Bainbridge. Cues were never dropped by the pair as they balanced the lead vocalists with the cast in large group numbers.
The ship has come ashore! Thanks to the cast and crew of The Little Mermaid, it was an adventure “Beyond My Wildest Dreams.”
Review submitted by Sam Spirt of Upper Dublin High School
The classic tale of the little mermaid who could is a story for everyone, no matter the age. Cardinal O’Hara High School dove under the sea and brought this classic story to life with bright colors and talented performers in their production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid“.
The cast and crew brought audiences beneath the ocean’s surface with their impressive talent and hard work in both performance and tech.
Based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and the 1989 Disney film, The Little Mermaid tells of a young mermaid, Ariel. When she meets a loving prince from the surface, Ariel trades away her beautiful voice in exchange for human legs. The catch? If she doesn’t get a kiss from the prince within three days, the spell is cursed and she remains human forever.
Sandra Parisiou (Ariel) and Ryan Garvey (Prince Eric) led the cast with their impressive vocals and portrayal of the lovers from land and sea. In addition, Dylan Rooney’s performance as Sebastian the crab was fun and exciting, especially in the highlight number, “Under the Sea,” and Eileen O’Toole (Ursula) left audience members shivering with fear after her sassy rendition of “Daddy’s Little Angel.”
Most notable, however, were Tina Goldhorn and Jack Williamson in the roles of Flounder and Scuttle, respectively. Goldhorn brought charming character to Ariel’s little guppy, and she blew everyone away with her top-notch belt in her shining moment during “She’s in Love.” On the other hand, Williamson provided the perfect dose of comic relief with his silly accent and perfect comedic timing.
With a cast of almost one hundred students, the various ensembles added another exciting layer to each scene. Ariel’s six Mersisters worked together in harmony, while also creating distinguishable characters of their own, and Scuttle’s tapping Gulls made Act II opener, “Positoovity,” a crowd favorite.
Various technical aspects helped bring both The World Above and the Fathoms Below to life. Lighting designers Nikolas Pappas and Sean Mack did a nice job adding a variety of colors to capture the mood of every scene. The Costume Team also gave everyone in the cast a new and exciting look to portray all of the different creatures under the sea.
Overall, Cardinal O’Hara’s The Little Mermaid was a fun-filled experience, with talent in both performing and technical areas evident. Anyone who does not get to witness this production is a “Poor Unfortunate Soul.”