AURORA – No matter your age, no matter your experience with the story, no matter if you believe in mermaids or not, you and your family will want to be front and center when the curtain goes up on the Paramount Theatre’s magical new production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, November 23, 2016 through January 8, 2017.
Perfect for the young and the young at heart, the blockbuster Disney movie about a mermaid who longs to leave her enchanted underwater kingdom to find love up above promises to come to amazing, aquatic new life in Paramount’s next awe-inspiring production.
Acclaimed director/ choreographer Amber Mak, who successfully helmed Paramount’s smash hit Hairspray last season, returns to stage The Little Mermaid with music director/conductor Tom Vendafreddo.
Paramount’s can’t-miss, catchy take on this beloved family classic promises to make a huge splash with the show’s familiar fish out of water story, coupled with one Disney hit after another including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” “Part of Your World,” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”
Previews start November 23. Press opening is Sunday, November 27 at 5:30 p.m. Performances run through January 8: Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Exceptions: No show Thursday, November 24 (Thanksgiving). Show times Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, are noon and 5 p.m. No shows Christmas Day. Single tickets are $44 to $59. Disney’s The Little Mermaid is rated G.
The Paramount Theatre is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd., in the heart of downtown Aurora, which is rife with affordable parking options and new restaurants popping up for pre- or post-show dining options.
To purchase tickets, go to ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or visit the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and two hours prior to evening performances.
Behind-the-scenes of Paramount’s
Disney’s The Little Mermaid
Ariel is a beautiful young mermaid who lives 20,000 leagues under the sea with her royal family and father, King Triton. Despite the beauty of her aqua surroundings, Ariel only dreams of what lies above. During one of her top-side expeditions with her loyal companions – Sebastian the crab and Scuttle the seagull – the turbulent waters cause some precious cargo, Prince Eric, to be tossed into sea. Ariel swims to his rescue and gets the Prince to safety. When he awakens, he has no recollection of how he got ashore.
Determined to risk it all for her chance at true happiness, Ariel makes a deal with Ursula the sea witch, who uses her black magic to transform the love-struck princess into a human. But Ariel has only three days to get her true love to kiss her. As part of the deal, while on land, Ariel will not have the ability to make a sound. If she fails at her quest, her soul and her beautiful voice become the property of Ursula.
“Disney’s The Little Mermaid is the kind of production that has Amber Mak, Tom Vendafreddo and the entire Paramount creative team chomping at the bit,” said Jim Corti, Artistic Director, Paramount Theatre. “Bringing the underwater surroundings to life, creating the costumes that transform humans into creatures, developing a system that will allow mermaids to swim and arranging a score for the Paramount orchestra that will give audiences chills are exactly the challenges we thrive on.”
Paramount’s principal cast members for Disney’s The Little Mermaid are Kari Yancy in the title role of Ariel, Devin DeSantis as Prince Eric, Murphy Byrne and Ricky Falbo alternating as Flounder, Evan Tyrone Martin as King Triton, Christina Hall as Ursula, Jonathan Butler-Duplessis as Sebastian, Adam Fane as Flotsam, John Adam Keating as Jetsam, George Keating as Grimsby/Chef Louis and Michael Ehlers as Scuttle.
Ensemble members are Aaron Patrick Craven, Ciera Dawn, Gilbert Domally, Megan E. Farley, Allyson Graves, Madison Kauffman, Kayla Kennedy, Eric A. Lewis, Mallory Maedke, Jake Morrissy, Zoe Nadal, Maurice Randle Jr., Rob Riddle, Haley Jane Schafer, Will Skrip, Anthony Sullivan Jr., Charlie Ward and J Tyler Whitmer.
In addition to Mak and Vendafreddo, Paramount’s production team also includes Trent Stork, associate director; Megan E. Farley, associate choreographer; Kory Danielson, assistant music director/associate conductor; Jeff Kmiec, scenic designer; Theresa Ham, costume designer; Jesse Klug, lighting designer; Mike Tutaj, projections designer; Adam Rosenthal, sound designer; Katie Cordts, wig, hair and make-up designer; Jesse Mooney-Bullock, puppet designer; Amanda Relaford, properties designer; Susan Gosdick, dialect coach; Jinni Pike, stage manager; and Jonathan D. Allsup, assistant stage manager.
Amber Mak (director/choreographer) most recently directed and choreographed Paramount’s acclaimed production of Hairspray – The Broadway Musical last season. Soon after, Mak was hired as the theater’s full-time New Works Development Director, foretelling an exciting new era of artistic and economic expansion for the Paramount. Previously, she also was assistant director and associate choreographer of Paramount’s 2014 smash hit Mary Poppins, and she played Bombalurina in Cats. Prior to joining Paramount, Mak was founding artistic director of Chicago’s FWD Theatre Project, which collaborated with Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, co-creators of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, on a concert reading and English premiere of La Révolution Française. Mak also served as Assistant/SDC Observership Fellow for Susan Stroman for Big Fish in Chicago and on Broadway, and she was Jeff-nominated for her choreography of Singin’ in the Rain at Drury Lane Oakbrook. Regional credits include director/choreographer of Mary Poppins and Swing and choreographer for Legally Blonde and The Sound of Music, all at The Little Theatre on the Square, choreographer of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at Rocky Mountain Rep and The Music Man at The Clarence Brown Theatre. Her credits as associate director/choreographer include The Sound of Music, Ragtime, Mary Poppins, Sweeney Todd, Xanadu, Shout and The Emperor’s New Clothes. As a performer, she has been on stage in more than 40 shows nationally including Cabaret, West Side Story, Crazy For You and Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Tom Vendafreddo (music director and conductor) is helming his ninth consecutive musical at Paramount, preceded by In the Heights, Mary Poppins, The Who’s Tommy, Les Misérables, Oklahoma!,A Christmas Story – The Musical, Hairspray – The Broadway Musical, West Side Story and Mamma Mia! Other credits include Company and Sweet Charity (Writers Theatre); On the Town and Godspell (Marriott Lincolnshire); Road Show and Shrek: The Musical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Spitfire Grill (BoHo Theatre – Jeff Nomination for Music Direction); and Pump Boys and Dinettes (Metropolis Performing Arts Center). Regional credits include RENT (San Diego Musical Theatre), Odyssey (Old Globe Theatre), Forever Plaid (Chestnut Fine Arts) and It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play (Cygnet Theatre). As a cabaret artist, Vendafreddo has performed in Chicago, New York, San Diego and Melbourne. In 2014, he became the Founding Artistic Director of the Chicago Artists Chorale, a choral ensemble of working professionals in the Chicago theatre community. He received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Eastman School of Music and a Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University.
In true Paramount tradition, the 12-member Paramount Orchestra will play the full, original Broadway orchestrations for Disney’s The Little Mermaid, featuring music by Alan Menken, with lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater. The book is by Doug Wright. The musical is based on the original 1837 Hans Christian Andersen tale and the Disney film written and directed by John Musker and Ron Clements. It debuted on Broadway in 2008, earning numerous award nominations and legions of fans. The Broadway cast album, released in 2008 by Walt Disney Records, debuted at number 26 on the Billboard 200, the highest position for a cast album in 25 years, second only to RENT. The original 1989 Disney film The Little Mermaid won two Academy Awards (Best Score and Best Song for “Under the Sea”), two Golden Globes and two Grammys. With more than $211 million in total lifetime gross worldwide, it remains a staple in countless family video collections.
Paramount’s 2016-17 Broadway Series is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank and The Dunham Fund. Broadway Series Orchestra Sponsor is Rush-Copley Medical Center. Broadway Series Lighting Sponsor is ComEd. Broadway Series Costume Sponsor is Gerald Kia. Disney’s The Little Mermaid is also sponsored by Hampton Inn and Suites Aurora.
More about Paramount Theatre’s 2016-17 Season
Paramount’s 2016-17 season line-up is anchored by its acclaimed Broadway musical series, including Mamma Mia! (now through Oct. 30, 2016), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Nov. 23, 2016-Jan. 8, 2017), Sweeney Todd-The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Feb. 8-Mar. 19, 2017) and Jesus Christ Superstar (Apr. 19-May 28, 2017).
Paramount anticipates more than 30,000 subscribers will take advantage of Paramount’s now-familiar Buy Two, Get Two offer, or four Broadway-caliber musicals for no more than $29.50 per show.
In addition to its Broadway series and Garrison Keillor, Paramount’s 2016-17 season also includes Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl (Nov. 4), Engelbert Humperdinck (Nov. 5), Under The Streetlamp (Nov. 6), Billy Gardell (Nov.12), The Second City’s Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue (Dec. 2-23, in Paramount’s Copley Theatre), Defending the Caveman (Jan. 20), God Save The Queen (Jan. 21), Home Free (Mar. 24), Madeleine Peyroux and Rickie Lee Jones (Mar. 25), Golden Dragon Acrobats (Mar. 26), Riverdance: 20 Years (Mar. 31-Apr. 2, five shows), Piano Men: A Tribute to Elton John and Billy Joel (Jun. 10, two shows) and Barbra and Frank: The Concert That Never Was… (Jun. 11).
Back in 2016-17 is Paramount’s popular Classic Movie Monday series, presenting everyone’s favorite flicks in one of Chicago’s top former movie palaces on a two-story screen, for just $1.
Paramount also serves the community with low-cost children’s shows designed to entertain while they educate: Jigsaw Jones and the Case of the Class Clown
(Nov. 2), Doktor Kaboom (Nov. 3), Miss Nelson is Missing (Mar. 22) and Laura Ingalls Wilder (Mar. 23).
For subscriptions, single tickets or more information, go to ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora.