Under the Sea

The Little Mermaid was the first Disney film I saw in theaters. I was nine years old and had grown up on flicks such as Cinderella, Pinocchio and Snow White, but the story of misfit mermaid Ariel, who had to lose her voice to find herself, was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. I fell in love with her sea-creature friends and the catchy music, and I shuddered with fear and excitement during the final scene, when villainess Ursula attempts to destroy poor Ariel and take control of the seas.

The film was a classic in more ways than one: It was Disney’s most effects-heavy animated feature film since Fantasia was released in 1940. So how do you translate all that water and whimsy to the Broadway stage? It’s a secret. “They’re actually not talking about costumes or set design until the first preview,” says Denver Center Attractions’ Genevieve Miller. “They’re not giving away the concept at all. But 3M made a new material for them; it’s translucent and catches the light for some of the underwater effects.” And Denver’s own Sierra Boggess — whose first acting job involved donning a shark costume for the local aquarium — snagged the lead role of Ariel.

Thankfully, we don’t have long to wait: The first preview for this pre-Broadway engagement (a process by which cast and crew work out the kinks before opening in New York in December) opens tonight at 8 p.m. at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The show runs through September 9, and tickets are $20 to $77; purchase yours at 303-893-4100 or visit www.denvercenter.org/tpt, where you’ll also find info on VIP evenings, showtimes and more.
July 26-Sept. 9