Diana Huey brings Ariel to life on stage for a limited two week run in South Florida
A spectacular new production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid kicked off at The Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, February 22 for a limited two week run. Featuring the critically acclaimed work of Director Glenn Casale, this beloved tale of a young mermaid’s coming-of-age adventure is told like never before. Casting includes Diana Huey as Ariel and Matthew Kacergis as Prince Eric, with Broadway’s Jennifer Allen as Ursula and Steven Blanchard as King Triton. Melvin Abston, Connor Russell and Jamie Torcellini round out the cast as Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle.
This timeless Disney musical is based on the hit animated 1989 Disney film The Little Mermaid, which was loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson tale. The show follows headstrong Ariel, no longer content to live on the ocean floor under her father, King Triton’s rule.
Convinced she’ll only find happiness on land, she sets off to find a world where she belongs, battling a cruel sea witch and finding true love along the way. The film earned three Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe nominations, winning the awards for Best Song (“Under the Sea”) and Best Score in both ceremonies. The soundtrack won the Grammy Award for Best Album for Children and the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for A Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.
The Broadway production appeared in 2007 under Director Francesca Zambello. In 2012, Director Glenn Casale was invited to re-imagine the show, making significant plot changes, introducing aerial elements and featuring a new set design by Bob Crowley that emulates a pop-up book. Casale’s changes are reflected in this production.
This stellar cast is joined by Brandon Roach as Flotsam, Frederick Hagreen as Jetsam/Prince Eric Cover, Allen Fitzpatrick as Grimsby and Dane Stokinger as Chef Louis. Also swimming under the sea are Kristin Burch, Venny Carranza, Lisa Karlin, Michael McGurk, Amanda Minano, Taylor Niemeyer, Becca Orts, Marco Ramos, Robbie Roby, James Shackelford, Brian Steven Shaw, Momoko Sugai, Brenna Wagner, Michael Wordly and Brittany Zeinstra.
It was a pleasure to sit down with the lead Diana Huey who plays Ariel for this exclusive Hotspots Interview.
Were you always a performer, even as a kid or when did it start?
I always grew up doing the arts…dancing and singing. I got into theater when I was in middle school, and I never stopped. My family knew from the age of 3.
What was your first professional/paid gig?
My very first real gig was my senior year of college as I did a show called “Rodgers And…” It was a cabaret review of the Rodger and Hammerstein musicals. Martin Charnin was in the room. The University I attended did not allow us to do shows out of school, but I got special permission and I got the job on the spot and it was very exciting.
Other than Ariel, what has been your favorite role to play and why?
For me it’s definitely Kim in Miss Saigon. It was the most rewarding piece of theater for me to do.
You are a Helen Hayes Award Winner for Best Leading Actress for Signature Theatre’s Miss Saigon. How amazing was it to win that award and how has it helped your career?
I won it for my first job outside of Seattle. It was huge, and doing that show convinced me to permanently leave Seattle and move to New York. I totally stepped outside of the box, but that show gave me the confidence. It was a huge changing point for me. So yes, it helped my career because it convinced me to go for it.
What should the South Florida audiences expect from this production of the Little Mermaid?
I think they should expect a really good time as you get to see and hear all your favorite songs from the movie. It is an expanded story, but we get to delve into each character more. But all the songs were written by Alan Menkin so it’s the same feel.
Also, in this touring version we are flying in harnesses to simulate swimming. It is so much fun. It’s done by “Flying by Foy” who did Peter Pan and Wicked and they are amazing. On Broadway they were on Roller Skates, but now we fly and it gives a much better and realistic feel.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid plays through Feb 22 to March 5. Tickets are available at the Broward Center AutoNation Box Office, 201 SW Fifth Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33312, browardcenter.org or call 954-462-0222. Orders for groups of ten (10) or more may be placed by calling 954-660-6307. Ticket prices start at $35.
For more information on Diana Huey, go to DianaHuey.com