Friday, August 31, 2007

Is Little Mermaid Major Disney Misstep?

Is Little Mermaid Major Disney Misstep?

This morning's column by Michael Riedel of New York Post casts a long shadow of doubt on Disney's future on the Great White Way....not only because of the sinking review by Variety 's David Rooney of the Denver tryout of The Little Mermaid, but also because of Disney chief Robert Iger's apparent lack of affinity for all things Broadway.

So how endangered is this latest production before it even gets to the Big Apple? The $20 million tuner has amassed $10 million in advance sales, but the buzz coming out of Denver isn't great, especially with its "artsy" ethereal look and feel of both set and costume designs. Riedel notes, "What little girls from Scarsdale who carry Little Mermaid lunchboxes will make of it is anybody's guess."

In his review, Rooney said, "What are those giant baroque corkscrews that keep appearing? And while we're on that track, did no one at any point worry that the designs for this show are just plain ugly? While director Francesca Zambello is new to Broadway... (she) has allowed emotion, charm and enchantment to be drowned in a sea of bewilderingly over-stylized designs....Doug Wright's book for Mermaid joins the dots well enough but it constantly struggles against the visual conception, which distracts from the story's essence and makes it hard for the audience to lose themselves in the underwater environment....much of the humor falls flat. What's surprising is how underwhelming the movie's most delightful numbers are here."

Riedel hints that rumors are flying that Disney may seek a new director, but the House of Mouse denies that.

As noted previously, I'll be in Denver a couple weeks from now to check out The Little Mermaid myself.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for The Little Mermaid tickets (Denver).
here for The Little Mermaid tickets (Broadway).
Related Stories:
Updated: One Rocky Review For The Little Mermaid; One Favorable Post (August 24, 2007)
A Tale Of Two Tryout Cities (August 23, 2007)
Little Mermaid Begins Tonight (July 26, 2007)
Little Mermaid: No Treading Water Before The Boards (July 21, 2007)
Mermaid Casting Anything But Little (March 20, 2007)
Beauty Out On Broadway (January 17, 2007)
Disney Moves from Continent to Continent (May 22, 2006)

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At 31 August, 2007, Blogger SarahB said...

Have you seen the posters around for it? I'm paraphrasing, but it's something like "Sometimes the first step to finding love is the hardest." The first step? Are they kidding? Of course, it's hard, she's 1/2 fish! Good grief. Zambello has had success in directing opera - including at the Met...but I guess we'll see with this one. I only watched this movie about a million and one times with a little girl I babysat in the early 90s who wanted to be Ariel. I'm not sure I need to see it but if I can score a cheap seat, I'm there.

At 31 August, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Sarah, I think you got the exact point of their ad. But remember, it's Disney. They have to be cute, even if their show may not be.

At 31 August, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be surprised if Disney pulls Little Mermaid and shoves a production of HIGH SCHOOL Musical into the space instead. Zambello's forays into musical theatre have not been noteworthy- her London Showboat was universally panned and her staging of the German language musical "Rebecca" was laughably bad. Zambello belongs to the George Lucas school of direction and has no clue about directing ACTORS and instead treats them like chess pieces. All the folks at Disney had to do was read some reviews online to know what they were getting themselves into.

At 05 September, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

After reading Michael Riedel's column this morning, you may be onto something...


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