Peter and the Starcatcher: Staff Reviews

PeterandtheStarcatcherWe still may be under the sea for a few more weeks with The Little Mermaid, but we are already looking forward to setting our sails with our production of Peter and the Starcatcher, which takes our stage from Jan. 20-Feb. 14, 2016.

This clever play with music is presented as a co-production with TheatreSquared in Fayetteville, Ark, and we are excited to present it as a regional premiere this winter! TheatreSquared’s production is showing now through Jan. 3, at which time the entire production – cast, set, costumes, etc. – will transfer to our home on Main Street to be reworked for our space.

Luckily, some of our staff (including me!) were able to travel north to preview this Tony Award-winning production before it comes to The Rep!

Here are our reviews of this funny, touching and wildly inventive production:

Peter and the Starcatcher was just magical! It was a beautiful story of becoming who you’re truly meant to be. Watching Peter search for his purpose and his happiness is captivating. This show will make all of the young-at-heart glow with warmth and happiness. With clever references to both the original story by J.M. Barrie and current pop culture, this show is laugh-out-loud funny and as endearing as it possibly could be!

-Bailey Lamb, Assistant to the Production Manager

 

The journey you take with Peter and Molly (female protagonist) is a unique one filled with a nostalgic and yet child-like innocence that helps you witness the creation of the story Peter Pan.  The development of the characters from unknown protagonists into some of the most highly known names in the world is one of simplistic effortless beauty. Trish Clark was able to capture Peter’s unknown existence and transition into finding his name Peter Pan through costumes with great care and simple transitions that you can barely notice until he has fully become the character. Watching these characters adventures unfold with brilliant wit and literary references is an adventure in its own for audience and cast, alike. You will walk away from this show smiling.

-Elise Kulovany, Costume Shop Manager

 

This delightful journey that you take with Peter is one that you have to experience for yourself! From the moment the voyage begins, you are transported to this colorful world where you are introduced to the orphan boy and get to witness his incredible transformation to the Boy Who Would Never Grow Up.

The slapstick humor and comedic timing of the crew is perfect and leaves you wanting more. And you owe it all to the brilliant cast who bring these fascinating and magical characters to life from when they’re on the ships all the way to the tropical island. I grew up watching Peter Pan and to be able to see the beginning of his journey in such a magnificent way is something I’ll never forget!

-Lauren James, Communications Manager

Bottom line: Don’t miss it!

Tickets to Peter and the Starcatcher are on sale NOW! Purchase yours online or by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sign Interpreter Night for The Little Mermaid on Dec. 16

IKcjgzqMcqn an effort to make Arkansas Repertory Theatre more accessible, we have a Sign Interpreter section for the deaf on the third Wednesday of every production run through the season.

Raphael James, an instructor in the Interpreter Education program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, will be positioned in front of the section, located on the First Mezzanine. He will sign directly for those who need his services.

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Raphael James

We are gearing up for our next sign interpretation night, which will be the The Little Mermaid performance at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16. There are still seats available! Any open seats in the section will be released to the public at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, so get your seats now!

Here are the remaining sign interpreter performances:

  • Peter and the Starcatcher: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016
  • Bridges of Madison County: 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, 2016
  • Windfall: 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Contact the Box Office at (501) 378-0405 to reserve your seat at our upcoming interpreter nights and get more details at www.therep.org/attend.

Little Mermaid Monday: 8 Fun Facts

Happy Little Mermaid Monday!

We are in the fourth week of our blog series Little Mermaid Monday highlighting all-things The Little Mermaid. This week, we’re sharing a few facts you may not have known about the original animated film, music, author and more.

"The Little Shop of Horrors"

“The Little Shop of Horrors”

Here they are:

  1. If you compare “Somewhere That’s Green” from Little Shop of Horrors and “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid, there is definitely a musical and conceptual similarity between the two songs. Writers Howard Ashman and Alan Menken noticed this and nicknamed the latter song “Somewhere That’s Dry.”
  2. Many of the shots of Ariel seated on an ocean rock in the film are modeled after the “The Little Mermaid” statue, located in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  3. It is believed that Ariel’s wedding dress at the end of the film is patterned after Princess Diana’s famous 1981 wedding gown.
  4. The Little Mermaid was the first animated fairy tale by Disney since 1959’s Sleeping Beauty.

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    “The Little Mermaid” statue in Copenhagen, Denmark.

  5. The Little Mermaid was the first animated film to ever receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture.
  6. Walt Disney first planned an animated version of The Little Mermaid in 1941. An animator’s strike and World War II caused him to shelf the idea, but it remained a passion project for the studio over the next 40 years.
  7. The Little Mermaid author Hans Christian Andersen was dyslexic and never learned how to spell correctly.
  8. If you say the names of four of the main characters in the Disney animated movie Frozen (Hans, Kristoff, Anna, Sven), you may hear a familiar name. They were all named after Hans Christian Andersen, the creator of “The Snow Queen.”
    1. For more information about the connection between Andersen’s story and Frozen, click here.

Information compiled by Dramaturg Robert Neblett.

Read more about the music and The Little Mermaid in our Study Guide here.

From Script to Stage: The Little Mermaid Choreography

Arkansas Repertory Theatre's production of The Little Mermaid. photos by STEPHEN B. THORNTON

Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s production of The Little Mermaid.
photos by STEPHEN B. THORNTON

In our production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, many design elements come together to create the lively world that takes audiences on a magical voyage. From the breathtaking costumes and set to the props and classic score, our production of The Little Mermaid is fit for an underwater paradise.

Something else that adds a lot of pizzazz and gusto to our production of this Disney classic is the choreography, masterminded by Choreographer Adam Cates.

See what he had to say about the dance styles you’ll see onstage and how the incredible aerial stunts – created by 2 Ring Circus – will be incorporated into this underwater adventure!

Little Mermaid Monday: Who are Howard Ashman and Alan Menken?

Ashman and Menken

Howard Ashman and Alan Menken

We are in the third week of our blog series Little Mermaid Monday highlighting all-things The Little Mermaid. Let’s just say, we are all excited about hearing our favorite childhood anthems being brought to life on The Rep stage.

So, who is behind the magical score that captivated children so many years ago and still resonates today? It’s Howard Ashman and Alan Menken!

A great deal of the success of Disney’s animated screen adaptation of The Little Mermaid can be attributed to the film’s infectious score by lyricist Ashman and composer Menken. Featuring bouncy production numbers such as “Under the Sea,” romantic ballads such as “Kiss the Girl,” and the ode to Ariel’s longing, “Part of Your World,” these musical numbers add tone and color to the story. But, more importantly they deftly reveal character motivation and the emotional undercurrents of the story.

Prior to The Little Mermaid, Ashman and Menken were best known for their 1982 sci-fi rock musical based on Roger Corman’s 1960 dark comic film The Little Shop of Horrors. The musical, which grounds the action in its 1960s time period by utilizing doo-wop, rock-and-roll, and Supremes-like girl group R & B numbers, was an overwhelming success Off-Broadway. It was later turned into a 1986 film musical starring Steve Martin, Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene.

Following the release of the 1986 film of Little Shop, Ashman was brought into Disney Studios to assist with the film Oliver & Company, when he was recruited (along with Menken) to create the score for The Little Mermaid. The film broke box-office records and ushered in what is known as the “Disney Renaissance” of the 1990s, a return to the quality and popularity of Disney’s animated features of several decades before. Their contributions to the film won two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes and a Grammy.

Ashman and Menken collaborated on two more mega-hits for Disney: 1991’s Beauty and the Beast and 1992’s Aladdin. However, Ashman would not live to see the premieres of either of these films. Diagnosed with HIV in 1988, he passed away in March 1991. Beauty and the Beast was dedicated to his memory.

Broadway lyricist Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita) assisted Menken with completing the songs in Aladdin. Menken went on to compose music for Newsies (1992), Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Hercules (1997), Enchanted (2007) and Tangled (2010).Kiss the Girl

In 2007, Disney Theatricals mounted a live stage production of The Little Mermaid on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, with an expanded score featuring the film’s songs by Ashman and Menken and additional lyrics by Glenn Slater. It was helmed by noted opera and theatre director Francesca Zambello and starred Sierra Boggess as Ariel, Tituss Burgess as Sebastian, Norm Lewis as Triton, and Sherie Rene Scott as Ursula. The original production encountered several script and technical issues and was reimagined in 2012 for subsequent performances, most notably updating the undersea effects with aerial flying technology.

Information compiled by Dramaturg Robert Neblett.

Hurry! Get your tickets to The Little Mermaid online or by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405.

Read more about the music and The Little Mermaid in our Study Guide here.

Opening week of The Little Mermaid: Engage with Us!

Arkansas Repertory Theatre's production of The Little Mermaid. photos by STEPHEN B. THORNTON

The cast of Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s production of The Little Mermaid. Photo by STEPHEN B. THORNTON

It’s the Opening Week of our blockbuster holiday musical, The Little Mermaid, the third production in The Rep’s landmark 40th MainStage Season!

Now that we are in our first week of December (can you believe it?), we are excited to get our big musical started and give our patrons engaging activities.

Here is this week’s lineup of fun events:

Wednesday, December 2:

  • Preshow Director Talk, 6:15-6:45 p.m.: Get exclusive insight into our production of The Little Mermaid from Director Bob Hupp and the creative team before the start of the preview performances. FREE!
  • Pay What You Can Night, 7 p.m.: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette presents The Rep’s “Pay What You Can Night” on Wednesday, Oct. 14. Patrons can pay any amount they wish for their ticket. Tickets must be purchased in person at the Box Office at 601 Main Street the day of the performance. The Box Office will be open from 9 a.m. until curtain. Tickets are limited to (2) two per person. Offer is based on seating availability.

Thursday, December 3:

  • Clinton School Speaker Series, 12-1 p.m. Clinton School Join Producing Artistic Director Bob Hupp and members of the cast and creative team for a panel discussion on this musical. RSVP by calling the Clinton School at (501) 683-5239. FREE!
  • Preshow Director Talk, 6:15-6:45 p.m.: Get exclusive insight into our production of The Little Mermaid from Director Bob Hupp and the creative team before the start of the preview performances. FREE!

Friday, December 4:

  • Opening Night performance and post-show party, 8 p.m.: Opening Night for The Little Mermaid will include a post-show reception with the cast immediately following the show. Complimentary champagne and light hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

Sunday, December 6:

  • Pay Your Age Night, 7 p.m.: Little Rock Soiree presents The Rep’s “Pay Your Age Night” on Sunday, Oct. 18. Are you age 22 – 40? Pay Your Age at The Rep! Top off your weekend with great theatre at a great price. Plus, enjoy a complimentary wine tasting provided by Colonial Wines and Spirits. Tickets are limited to four per household, Proof of age for each member of the party is required at time of pick-up.

Check out our full lineup of surround events during the show’s run from December 2- January 3 here and book your tickets by calling (501) 378-0405 or visiting TheRep.org.