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"I wanna be where the people are ..."
Earlier this week, where the people were was NYC's World of Disney. This past Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of musical theatre fans crammed into that 5th Avenue flagship ...
Photo by Chris Barry
... So that they could then be on hand for a very special event. You see, in honor of the release of the original cast recording for "The Little Mermaid," members of the cast of Disney's newest Broadway musical would be dropping by the store that day to perform a few numbers from the show.
By the event's 4 p.m. start time, the line to get into the performance space had literally wrapped itself around the first floor of the building.
Photo by Chris Barry
But still, the mood of the crowd was upbeat. As they patiently waited for the performers to arrive, people eyeballed all of the displays of "Little Mermaid" -related merchandise that were scattered about the store.
And -- of course -- the very best seats in the house were reserved for Ariel's biggest fans.
Then -- as the clock struck four -- the magic began. First Broadway's Ariel, Sierra Boggess, belted out this amazing version of "Part of Your World"
Then Tituss Burgess (Who plays Sebastian in the stage version of "The Little Mermaid") did a great rendition of "Under the Sea."
And then the floor was thrown open for questions. With Sherie Rene Scott and other members of the cast responding to shoppers' queries about the show.
And then (once a table was set up ) it was CD signing time. As Boggess, Burgess & Scott (Along with "Mermaid" cast members Eddie Korbich and Tyler Maynard) met with fans and then signed copies of the original cast recording. As well as all sorts of "Little Mermaid" -related items that the fans brought along with them. Things like programs, posters and even the occasional collectors card.
You know what really struck me about this event at the World of Disney? As I watched Sierra & Tituss standing there in their t-shirts belting out their numbers from this new Disney Broadway show, I was still swept away by the songs.
I mean, here was "The Little Mermaid" in its purest form. No huge sets, no elaborate costumes. Just the performers and those great Ashman / Menken tunes. And based on the roar of the crowd & that wave of applause that came crashing down as Boggess & Burgess finished their songs, I wasn't the only one who really enjoyed this stripped down version of "The Little Mermaid."
Which is why I decided to treat myself to a copy of the show's CD.
At 6 p.m., the event was over. The cast thanked the fans who remained in the store and then hurried out the door. For they still had to do a performance that night down the street at the Lunt-Fontanne.
And me? I had a great time that afternoon. And I couldn't help but think that -- if I didn't already have seats for "The Little Mermaid" (My family and I will actually be seeing this show for the very first time next month) -- Sierra & Tituss' performances among the merchandise racks at the World of Disney would have been enough to convince me to go buy tickets for Disney's latest musical. Their performances of "Under of the Sea" & "Part of Your World" were really that good.
Speaking of which ... I've got a CD that I've got to go listen to.
Hi, Chirs. Loved you're article. I hoep you enjoy the CD. I got mine a couple of weeks ago since I was lucky enough to see the out-of-town run of the show in Denver and pre-ordered mine then. I was totally impressed how well the new songs held up against the old ones. The best (new) songs in the show IMHO are "She's in Love" and the "If Only" quartet, whihc are being singled out by not only me, but almost every review that I've read. I agree that the performers are spectacualr in and out of their costumes. Most especially my dear Sierra, I am now her biggest fan and can't wait to see her win a Tony one day. She is also the sweetest person when I met her. She was very kind and even took to pictures with me since I forgot to turn on the flash. Anywho, that's all the opinions I have today. And everyone who loves The Little Mermaid, or Alan Menken, or Disney should get this CD, it hasn't left my car CD player since I got it!!
I saw the show right after it opened, and although I did not think it was nearly as dreadful as the reviews reported, I have to say that I felt the new songs paled mightily in comparison to the classic originals. Though I like Menken, it is obvious that Ashman was the mastermind behind the team and the lyrics of the new songs are abysmal when held up against that light. I think "If Only" is fine, but the 2 Scuttle songs are pretty bad, He's in Love is a thrown in song for Flounder (look how CUTE he is) with mediocre lyrics, and even Ursula's new song has some hack lyrics. I will buy the CD anyway, however, since I would buy a CD of Sherri and Norm Lewis singing the phone book and I think Sierra's version of Part of Your World rivals and perhaps exceeds Jodi Benson's exquisite rendition.
Sierra's version of Part of Your World is so emotionally impacting .....
...... exploding in torrential tears is my only reaction .......
Great article ... right next to audio samples side bar from Dis.com website ad :)
Sierra's version of Part of Your World is so emotionally impacting ...... I have one reaction from her talent ..... Bwaa bwa ....
Bwaaaaaaa explosions of torrential tears .... *8)