On Sunday, July 3rd my family and I traveled to Bethesda, Maryland to see The Little Mermaid, an original musical at Imagination Stage.
A bit about Imagination Stage
Imagination Stage is the largest and most respected multi-disciplinary theatre arts organization for young people in the Mid-Atlantic region. Imagination Stage offers after-school programs, summer camps for ages 1-18 and arts-integrations professional development training for teachers, students, schools and families. Also offered is a year-round season of professional shows (adult actors performing for families and children from schools in the DC metro area). Imagination Stage believes that the arts should be inclusive and accessible to all children, regardless of their physical, cognitive, or financial status.
I had heard many wonderful things about Imagination Stage productions in the past so I was excited when I had the chance to see my first main stage production on the Lerner Stage. The Little Mermaid follows the original Hans Christian Andersen tale. In The Little Mermaid, Pearl, falls in love with a Danish prince, Edvard, and longs to be with him and a part of his strange world above the water. Despite the warnings of her family, Pearl, decides that love is worth the risk and trades her voice for legs with the help of an Enchantress. Imagination Stage’s adaptation manages to remain faithful to Anderson’s original tale but still end on a happy note.
Even as an actor with a background in children’s theatre I still found myself surprised by the high production quality of The Little Mermaid at Imagination Stage. The music was beautiful, especially ‘No Harm in Fantasy’, (listen to a snippet here) with melodies that melded the story together. The design, while minimalistic, achieved both the underwater and the human worlds perfectly. The many puppets: kites, fish, birds, and a furry dog, kept the audience mesmerized. I often overheard an audible response from the audience of both parents and children around me. I found it really interesting that they casted both an actor and a dancer for the central characters in the show. At first I was unsure how this casting would work but the choreography seamlessly blended the characters into one. The beauty of the movement and music combined with story frequently left me breathless. Justine Icy Moral (Pearl) gave a impressive performance. Her strong, clear voice reminded me of a young Lea Salonga. Ms. Moral played the role of Pearl with gusto, tenderness and sympathy and was both a joy to watch and listen to. My two children, 5 & 9 absolutely adored the show as did my husband (a professional actor in DC). As a Mother, I was thrilled to find out that Imagination Stage has a soundproof booth in the theater that you can step into in case your children become a bit too loud or distracting to the other audience members. What a lifesaver, right?! When the show ended to great applause we headed back home with smiles on our faces. The Little Mermaid at Imagination Stage is a family adventure everyone will enjoy.
The Little Mermaid runs from June 22-August 14 in the Lerner Family Theatre
Recommended for ages 5+
Tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at (301)280-1660 or online here.
Subscriptions to Imagination Stage’s 2016-2017 Season are now on sale! Priced at only $60, subscribers will be able to attend all five productions for the very best in value. Flex Packs are also now available, which can be purchased for seven or more tickets.