Yesterday morning my aspiring young actress friend, Eva May and I hopped onto a bus and headed for New York City to see Disney's The Little Mermaid on Broadway.
We've gone on several of these bus trips and this is the first time there was a woman driver. I think she must be charmed because it is the only trip that's gone without a hitch both directions. The tour company drivers are great which is why I prefer to let them drive but it's rare not to hit some sort of traffic snarl either in Manhattan or approaching the Lincoln Tunnel from either side. Yesterday, there was nothing. The ride was the same, just about 2 1/2 hours each way. Amazing.
Our day began with lunch at Ellen's Stardust Diner. Ever been there? If not, it's located at the corner of Broadway and 51st. This place has your basic 50's style diner decor. The catch is that the waitstaff entertains you while you eat. They take turns singing oldies and showtunes, while dancing around the dining rooms, upstairs and down, including on the walkway along the back of the booths. Our waiter had an incrdible voice. Yes, it does delay the arrival of your food but they make the wait so enjoyable that it doesn't matter. At one point they announced how many of their employees go on to perform on Broadway. Not at all surprising.
We had planned to shop for Eva's birthday present but got caught in a sudden downpour and spent some time under a tent in a street fair that we stumbled across. That's okay. We'll just go on another adventure to accomplish that.
On to the show. The Little Mermaid hasn't received the best of reviews which we think is highly undeserved. The costumes and sets have been called weird. Well, yes, they are. They're supposed to be. How else could Disney pull off giving an ordinary wooden stage the apprearance of being underwater? And then above water? And then switching in the middle of a scene? It was quite effective and Eva and I thought very well done. They added several songs not in the movie but they fit and enhance the show overall. The little boy that played Flounder in our performance was so cute, perfect. Sebastion and the Chef, such hams. Ursila, believably wicked and Triton, all-powerful but still the caring father. And finally, Ariel and Eric, mm.
Something you may not know about how they made the characters appear to swim. They wear shoe-skates. Yep. Singing and dancing while rolling across the stage. Fast. Really fast. And right to the edge. I'm sure they are specially designed. There's a wheel on each heal and the performers just put their toes down to stop. Looked like a piece of cake which I suspect is very deceiving. No way can that be easy.
Eva now has something else to work on in addition to her acting, singing, and dancing skills. Bet you never knew you had to be good at rollerskating too, did you? I'm not at all worried. I have faith in her. She's a talented, determined young woman and I have no doubts that she'll succeed. She's started talking about NYU's theater program so get ready everyone. You're all invited to Eva May's first opening night!