BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ Disney's "The Little Mermaid" musical, as staged by Basking Ridge-based Trilogy Repertory Company, opened another summer season of Bernards Township’s “Plays in the Park” at Pleasant Valley Park on Friday, July 13, at the park's outdoor amphitheater. Performances  are scheduled to continue on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings through July, weather permitting.

Special effects for underwater setting

"The Little Mermaid" is scheduled to be held on July 13-14, 19-20-21, and on 26- 27-28. All performances begin at 8 p.m. in the outdoors amphitheater at the park off Valley Road in Basking Ridge.

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Much of the play's setting will bring audiences "under the sea" with Ariel, the little mermaid with the beautiful singing voice, and other characters introduced in the animated movie of the same name in 1989. The underwater setting and story about aquatic characters will require unusual technical designs and special effects, according to Trilogy Theater.

The plays are free, although donations are appreciated to help fund the outdoor theater production that have been presented at Pleasant Valley Park for more than three decades.

The audience is invited to bring a picnic, lawn chairs and a flashlight (to get around after dark) to performances. Concessions are sold at all performances.

“The Little Mermaid” is directed by Jaye Barre of Basking Ridge, with musical direction by Joe Lesky of Somerset, and choreography by Kristin Sarboukh of Bound Brook. 

Ariel (Claire Dempsey of Morristown), King Triton’s (Adam Barr of Basking Ridge) youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric (Nicholas Re of Bernardsville) in the world above the sea after she sees him and falls in love. 

In order to meet him on land, Ariel bargains with the evil sea witch Ursula (Angela Rose Masi of Basking Ridge) to trade her tail for legs, but must in exchange give up her beautiful singing voice. Ariel seeks the help of her friends Flounder the Fish (Max Rodriquez of Basking Ridge), Scuttle the Seagull (Alan Scott of Montclair), and Sebastian the Crab (Joseph Schmidt of Bedminster) to restore order under the sea.

Other main roles include Grimsby (Hank Barre of Basking Ridge) and Chef Louis (Frank Skokan of Bedminster).

The musical is based upon Disney’s 1989 animated film, with origins in the classic story by Hans Christian Andersen about a mermaid who dreams of the world above the sea. The book is by Doug Wright, with music that became widely popular by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, with additional lyrics by Glenn Slater.

The musical opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater on January 10, 2008, running for 685 performances and receiving two Tony award nominations. Theatergoers will recognize the songs “Part of Your World,” originally sung by Sierra Boggess in her Broadway debut, as well as “Under the Sea.”

The production team for the musical also includes Basking Ridge residents Lorrie Lane (Executive Producer), Veronica Sokira and Marilyn Gamba (Stage Manager/Assistant), and Beverly Webb (Set Decoration and Costumes).

The cast also includes the following: Kareen Alvarez, Elizabeth Buckley, Max Capatides, Eileen Conklin, Laura DeFelice, Oscar Grob, Christine Haggard, Harry Hess, Jack Hicks, Katie Hodge, Ryan Hodge, Alysia Hommes, Kaitlyn Huamani, Caitlin Iannella, Melissa Johnson, Zoe Jones, Olivia Kider, Jaclyn Lenox, Germaine McGrath, Caroline McKenna, Ariella Mendieta, Bridget Nassan, Lily Perrotti, Clarissa Po, Jaidyn Riley, Libby Schmitt, Brett Sullivan, Paul Vikovic, and Caila Yarwood.

Trilogy Repertory and Bernards Township team up to present theater

The partnership of Trilogy Repertory and Bernards Township has produced over three decades of family entertainment and achieved several awards for both groups for excellence in theater programming. Most prominent are the awards from ACT (Achievement in Community Theater) and the prestigious “Excellence in Cultural Arts Programming.”  “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” is made possible, in part, by support from New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and is presented through special arrangement with Music Theater International (MTI).

For information, call the Bernards Township Department of Parks and Recreation at 908-204-3003.