PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: "Under the Sea" at The Little Mermaid With Paper Mill Rising Star Morgan Kirner
By Matthew Blank
Paper Mill Playhouse offers a brand new production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid running through June 30. Just one year after winning Paper Mill's Rising Star Award, Morgan Kirner is up on the mainstage as a member of the ensemble and understudy to the title character.
"Hello there, Playbill," says Kirner. "My name is Morgan and I have the amazing opportunity to be working at the Paper Mill Playhouse this summer on The Little Mermaid! Since being a member of the conservatory in '09, it's been a dream of mine to work here."
"Last year, I was blessed to be named a Rising Star, but I had no idea how much goes into the behind the scenes aspects of putting on a show at the Paper Mill. Check out these pictures for a glimpse of what my experience has been like this far ... and then come see the show. You won't be disappointed!"
The production, featuring a revamped script, additional songs, a new physical production and an entirely fresh interpretation of the piece, will also play at partner theatres Kansas City Starlight and Pittsburgh CLO.
Directed by Glenn Casale with original choreography by John MacInnis, performances continue at Paper Mill through June 30.
The cast is led by Nick Adams (Prince Eric), Jessica Grové (Ariel), Liz McCartney (Ursula), Alan Mingo, Jr. (Sebastian), Edward Watts (King Triton), Matt Allen (Scuttle), Sean Patrick Doyle (Jetsam), Scott Leiendecker (Flotsam), Christian Probst (Flounder), Timothy Shew (Chef Louis) and Ron Wisniski (Grimsby) with Kristine Bennett, Ward Billeisen, Lauryn Ciardullo, Thay Floyd, KC Fredericks, Rod Harrelson, Lisa Karlin, Nicole Javanna Johnson, Morgan Kirner, Erica Mansfield, Dennis O’Bannion, Robbie Roby, James Shackelford, Katie Ulrich and Jessica Wockenfuss.
"In a magical kingdom beneath the sea," according to press notes, "the beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. Based on the enchanting 1989 Disney animated film and one of Hans Christian Andersen's most beloved stories, The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages."
The score features "Part of Your World," "Kiss the Girl" and the Academy Award-winning Best Original Song, "Under the Sea," composed by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken and his longtime collaborator, the late Howard Ashman, as well as new songs by Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater. The book for the musical is by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Doug Wright.
The creative team also includes music director Craig Barna, scenic designer Kenneth Foy, costume designers Amy Clark and Mark Koss, lighting designer Charlie Morrison, sound designer Randy Hansen, hair and wig designer Leah J. Loukas, flying sequence choreographer Paul Rubin and production stage manager Kim Vernace.
Single tickets range from $26-$97. Tickets may be purchased by calling (973) 376-4343 or at papermill.org.
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