Monday, August 21, 2017

Applause! Applause! Review of Narrows Community Theater's Summer Youth Production of Disney's The Little Mermaid at Fort Hamilton Army Base Theater by Dr. Philip Ernest Schoenberg

This review of Narrows Community Theater's Summer Youth Production of Disney's The Little Mermaid at Fort Hamilton Army Base Theater was written by Dr. Philip Ernest Schoenberg and published in Volume X, Issue 7 (2017) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Disney's The Little Mermaid
Original Book by Doug Wright
Modified Book by Glenn Casale
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman
Additional Lyrics by Glenn Slater
Directed by Stearns Matthews
Musical Direction by Greg Matteson
Choreography by Katie Rose McLaughlin
Assistant Choreography by Emily Missud
Stage Managed by Eric Braunstein
Fort Hamilton Army Base Theater
403 General Robert E. Lee Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11209
Reviewed 8/19/17

The Little Mermaid is an enchanting musical that transports one to a land and sea of make-believe. Good as the cartoon feature was, the stage musical puts legs (or fins) on the original concept. Narrows Community Theater's Summer Youth Production of Disney's The Little Mermaid was magical. The chorus and backup dancers, consisting of children of all ages, were well choreographed. They were wonderful, whether performing as a school of fish, backup cooks, or party guests at a feast. Katie Rose McLaughlin and Emily Missud are brilliant choreographers. Rita Donohue and Marla Gotay, assisted by many parents, outdid themselves in creating brilliant costumes for over 50 actors! 

Caitlyn Schmidt stole the show as Ursula, the evil, wicked Sea Witch. Ariel, played by Abigail Summa, was amazing whether acting, singing, dancing, or pantomiming. Andrew Gonzalez acted well in the role of Prince Eric but unfortunately, he could not carry a tune. Flounder, performed by Amanda Summa had a good voice and a strong stage presence. Liam Sprecht's character Sebastian acted so gay I suspect he may have been directed by Ru Paul instead of Stearns Matthews. At times, I was afraid he was going to fly right off the stage. Brian Mansell as King Triton successfully came across as a caring father. Steven Fazzolari did more with the part of Scuttle than the actor who played the part on Broadway. Many of the remaining cast members are very talented. You will be impressed.

The people behind the stage also deserve credit. I was impressed with the Lighting Design by Duane Pagano, helped by Osvaldo Gratereaux, Michael Fasano, Jerry Lam, and Robert Faicco. The Sound Design by Steve Jacobs, helped by Kendi King, Kirsa Danis, and Elaine Pollock was of professional quality. I was really impressed by the Set Design by Patrick Nash and Tara Perry, and the Props by Margaret McMahon and Maryjo Tipaldo. The scenes and set furniture were quickly and effortlessly changed. The projections suggesting various scenes were a nice addition and skillfully handled by Adam Olkin. Greg Matteson, the Musical Director, ably conducted the orchestra, which played well.

The Fort Hamilton Army Base Theater is one of the most comfortable I have been to. Refreshments were sold at a reasonable price. The bathrooms are also conveniently located nearby. Marla Gotay, the Producer, and Stearns Matthews, the Director, are to be congratulated for giving us a stage production worthy of Broadway. Remaining performances are on Saturday, August 26th at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday, August 27th at 2:00 p.m. Tickets cost $25.00 for adults, $20.00 for seniors and students, and $15.00 for children 12 years of age and under. For ticket reservations and information, call NCT at 718-482-3173, or e-mail 

Don't miss a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a Broadway-quality show!

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