‘Little Mermaid’ star is living her dream at NSMT
BEVERLY — Adrienne Eller said when she reported for rehearsals this week for the North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” she was expected to already know her songs.
“Part of My World?” No problem — already know it. “I’ve been singing them since I was in kindergarten,” she said.
It’s a dream role for someone who grew up in the Bay Area of California, captivated by the tale, and who made several trips to Disneyland, successfully engaging the heroine of the piece.
“I once waited in line for hours at Disneyland to meet Ariel,” said Eller, 20, who has photographic proof of that on her smartphone that she agreed to share.
“The Little Mermaid” Is based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale about a beautiful young mermaid, Ariel, who longs to leave her ocean home — and her fins — behind and live in the world above.
But first, she’ll have to defy her father King Triton, make a deal with the evil sea witch Ursula, and convince the handsome Prince Eric that she’s the girl whose enchanting voice he’s been seeking.
“I’m very grateful to Bill Hanney and the theater,” Eller said. “This is my biggest opportunity to date and I’m excited.”
The first adjustment she’ll make will be
performing for the first time on an in-the-round setting instead of the traditional proscenium stage
She has already made acquaintance with her costumes under the guidance of costume coordinator Paula Peaseley-Ninestein., including the fins and tail she’ll be sporting in the first act before she makes her transition to a different world.
“They’re real nice costumes but they do take some getting used to,” she said.
Eller will soon begin her final year at NYU’s famed Tisch School of the Arts, seeking a BFA in Drama at the New Studio on Broadway, a fast track to Broadway if there ever was one.
Her recent credits include Rosa Bud in “Drood” and Bonnie in “Bonnie and Clyde” at NYU as well as Natalie in “Next to Normal” at the Farmers Alley Theatre.
“We have wonderful teachers at NYU and there’s intense competition for roles,” she said. “It prepares you well for auditions.”
Disney‘s “The Little Mermaid” has a book by Doug Wright and a score that incorporates Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s music from the original Disney film, including “Part of Your World,” “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” “Kiss The Girl,” and the Oscar-winning “Under The Sea.” There are also several brand new songs written for the stage by Menken and Glenn Slater.
NSMT has traditionally set aside the month of July for its big family musical, with a three-week run instead of the usual two.
“I am delighted that Disney has allowed North Shore Music Theatre to be one of the first professional theaters in the country to produce ‘The Little Mermaid.’ This is the New England premiere,” said NSMT owner and producer Bill Hanney. “The artists at North Shore Music Theatre have been working for months to bring this spectacular show to life on stage and to make it the magical ‘must-see’ show of the summer.”
Joining Eller in the cast are Kecia Lewis-Evans (Ursula), Bruce Landry (Prince Eric), Mark Campbell (Triton), J. Cameron Barnett( Sebastian), Freddie Kimmel (Scuttle), Benjamin Howes (Grimsby) Paul Louis Lessard (Jetsam), Jeremy Pasha (Flotsam), and Shawn Platzker (Flounder).
The creative team for Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” is made up of Michael Heitzman (Director), AC Ciulla (Choreographer), Bruce Barnes (Music Director), Howard C. Jones (Scenic Designer), Paula Peasley-Ninestein (Costume Coordinator), Kirk Bookman (Lighting Designer), Charles Coes (Sound Designer), Kurt Alger (Wig Designer), John Godbout (Production Stage Manager), Phill Madore (Assistant Stage Manager), Luke Flood (Assistant Music Director), and Binder Casting( Casting).
The show is produced for North Shore Music Theatre by Bill Hanney (Owner/Producer), Tony Parise (Interim Artistic Director), and Beth Vasta (Associate Producer).
Eller said she hopes her work will inspire the young girls in the audience to dream about becoming Ariel some day, the same way she did as a young girl.
“It shows your dreams can come true,” she said.
Tickets for Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” are priced from $50 – $75. Performances are July 8 – 20, Tue – Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri & Sat at 8 pm, matinees Wed, Sat and Sun at 2 pm. Added performances are July 24 at 2pm and 7:30pm, July 26 at 2pm and July 27 at 2pm. Kids 18 and under save 50% on ‘Family Fridays’- July 11 & 18 at 8 pm. For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit www.nsmt.org, or visit the box office in person at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, MA.