We’re just going to say it. The Little Mermaid Live in Concert was one of the best things that has ever happened. It was a beautiful night at the Hollywood Bowl and magic was truly in the air. Fans of The Little Mermaid filled the 18,000 seat outdoor arena, and we could not wait for the night to begin. We spent some time with the cast backstage before the show, and it’s safe to say that they were finding the night just as magical as we were.
The show was a combination of a screening of the animated film, a live orchestra, and really amazing stars performing all of the songs live. In addition to the songs we know and love from the animated film, we were also treated to a few songs from The Little Mermaid on Broadway. The combination was absolutely breathtaking and we cried joyfully several times.
If you weren’t able to attend or follow us on Snapchat during the show, don’t worry. Here’s a breakdown of everything wonderful that happened:
1. Rebel Wilson, who plays Ursula, had a picture of Sebastian the crab on her wall when she was in boarding school.
She said she had forgotten about it until she needed some footage for a documentary that was being filmed about her childhood. So, apparently Sebastian was among her teenage crushes and we think that is absolutely amazing, and a good choice. Who wouldn’t like a crab who sings like a champion?
2. When given the choice of Ursula’s eels, Rebel would choose Flotsam over Jetsam.
She answered the question thoughtfully saying, “maybe Flotsam because I mention him first in the song, so maybe he’s my slight favorite.” We can tell Rebel has done her research when it comes to Ursula’s preferences, and we love her for that.
3. Sara Bareilles reminded us to introduce the Flounder plush she was holding when we interviewed her.
Sara was truly channeling Ariel in this moment, because she remembered Flounder, who probably would be too shy to introduce himself. Like Rebel, Sara also told us that she was a huge fan of The Little Mermaid when she was growing up (as were we all) and Ariel was her favorite character. We could tell that playing Ariel was a dream come true for Sara.
4. Everyone backstage was so excited and singing each other’s praises (literally).
We were hanging out backstage for a good amount of time as we prepared to talk to Sara and Rebel, and the energy was palpable. Everyone was smiling, John Stamos, who plays Chef Louis, was walking around in sunglasses (life made), and you could tell everyone couldn’t wait to get on stage. Also, Alan Menken was strolling about and stopped to talk to all of the performers. What a legend. Not only that, every performer we talked to immediately started talking about how great their fellow performers were. We can tell they bonded in a short time and truly embraced the Disney magic that comes along with a tale like The Little Mermaid.
5. Alan Menken sang a few of his songs to start off the show.
This was such a surprise and a huge once-in-a-lifetime treat. Alan sat down at the piano and launched into the music of our childhood. He sang songs from Beauty and the Beast, Hercules, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and others. It was the perfect start to the night. We cried. A lot.
6. When Ariel sees Eric’s boat for the first time, actual fireworks came shooting out of the Hollywood Bowl.
The animated film played on the giant screen on the Hollywood Bowl stage, as well as several screens around the arena. That beautiful moment when Ariel sees the fireworks from Prince Eric’s boat was made even more magical when actual fireworks shot out of the top of the Hollywood Bowl, exactly in time with the film.
7. Sara Bareilles as Ariel singing “Part of Your World” was perfection.
As soon as she started singing, we knew Sara was the perfect choice for Ariel. Her voice rang out through the Hollywood Bowl as the animated film played behind her. It was clear how much this role meant to her, and that she was living a childhood dream right in front of us.
8. The Daughters of Triton and Flounder sang “She’s in Love” from the Broadway musical.
Joshua Colley played Flounder and absolutely owned his song, belting out some serious notes. What a talent for such a young age. The Daughters of Triton were hilarious and sang perfect harmonies with Flounder. We want to be friends with all of them.
8. Darren Criss, who plays Prince Eric, sang “Her Voice” from the Broadway musical and was, frankly, super dreamy.
Heart eyes were flying around the arena when this happened. Darren entered the stage and announced that he “can’t play the flute, but he can play the guitar.” He played the guitar and sang like an angel. More heart eyes. His outfit was also perfectly Prince Eric inspired. We can’t get over how great the casting and costuming was for this event.
9. Norm Lewis, who plays King Triton, sang “The World Above (Reprise)” from the Broadway version of The Little Mermaid.
What a powerhouse. Norm Lewis was in the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid, and clearly brought his Broadway skills out to play that night. His voice was powerful and kingly, and we’re convinced he might actually be the real King Triton in human form.
10. Tituss Burgess amazed us with “Under the Sea” and then brought it home with “Kiss the Girl”.
When Tituss sang “Kiss the Girl” our favorite moment was when he said out loud on a music lyric break, “Boy, if you don’t kiss that girl…” It was hilarious and true to Sebastian’s character. We can’t think of anyone more suited to play Sebastian than Tituss (he originated the role on broadway). He absolutely owned the stage and when he hit the chorus of the song, the entire audience was singing along. His voice was so strong you could still hear it over 18,000 people singing.
11. Rebel Wilson was perfect and hilarious as Ursula.
We already knew Rebel had some amazing comedic abilities, and with them she brought Ursula to life and made all 18,000 people in the arena laugh out loud multiple times. She also looked absolutely perfect in her Ursula inspired dress and amazing hair. She told us it took two hours to complete her Ursula look and we think it was absolutely worth it.
12. Everyone lost their minds when John Stamos entered as Chef Louis and sang “Les Poissons.”
When we saw John Stamos was cast in this role we thought, yes, a thousand times yes, best decision ever. Stamos wore a hilariously perfect moustache and hat. He strolled on the stage like it was just another Saturday night for him, and then completely nailed the iconic song of the chef obsessed with cooking “les poissons.” We audibly cheered for him the entire time. What a delightful gem.
13. The duet of “If Only” from the Broadway musical with Ariel and Prince Eric was breathtaking.
Sara Bareilles and Darren Criss have beautiful, crystal clear voices that rang out during this gorgeous love song. It was amazing to be able to hear Ariel’s thoughts through song, and the struggle between the two characters as Ariel grasps to communicate without her voice and Eric searches for the girl he once heard sing to him.
14. Jodi Benson sang “Part of Your World” and everyone was in tears.
Jodi Benson is a wonderful human being, and the original voice of Ariel. Everyone we talked to confirmed this. We saw her walking around backstage and she was absolutely glowing. When we all thought the show had ended, she walked out on stage in an Ariel inspired sparkling blue dress, thanked everyone graciously for being there, and said “I think I’d like to sing.” When she sang the first notes of “Part of Your World” she sounded exactly, and we mean exactly, like she did in the iconic film. We just got chills writing about it, so you can imagine how mind blowing it was to hear her voice ring out through the Hollywood Bowl. The entire crowd hushed in awe. When she finished the song, the crowd exploded in applause and gave her a standing ovation. A million standing ovations wouldn’t be enough for this bright light of a Disney legend.
15. Fireworks ended the night.
After Jodi sang, the entire cast came out to sing “Under the Sea” again and you could tell they were all having the best time of their lives. Then fireworks went off behind the Hollywood Bowl and it was perfect.
16. The afterparty was magical.
There was so much to see at the afterparty, from Little Mermaid apparel, to Disney Princess photo booths, to coral centerpieces, and a giant jellyfish structure. Best of all, the cast was there to hang out. Alan Menken mingled with literally everyone in the room and clearly is so beloved by everyone that he has worked with. John Stamos was a social butterfly as well, posing for pictures and being the gem that he is. Then Paula Abdul showed up and congratulated the cast. Jodi Benson was also mingling and taking photos graciously with her many adoring fans and fellow cast members. The lighting and atmosphere made it feel like we were all actually under the sea.
What an amazing night, and luckily there is one more performance of this gorgeous show, with Jodi Benson reprising her role as Ariel tonight, Monday June 6, 2016. For all of these reasons, we are reminded that life really is the bubbles.