Based on the Disney animated film and hit Broadway musical, The Little Mermaid made its Austin debut. The show features all of the favorite songs like “Under The Sea” and “Part of Your World” as well as new songs written by Oscar-winning Disney composer Alan Menken, the mastermind behind productions such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas.
Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS), Houston’s acclaimed non-profit musical theatre company kicked off Disney’s The Little Mermaid in Houston earlier this month is co-presenting the production in four additional cities. After closing on Broadway in 2009, The Little Mermaid underwent two years of intensive work to fine-tune and master the production. In 2014, TUTS produced the revised version which included mesmerizing scenery, dazzling new costumes and high-flying action.
Adam Garst who plays Flounder answered a few questions for us!
What is your theater background?
I started theatre in high school and immediately became hooked. I went to Baylor University and received my BFA in Theatre Performance there. I moved to Dallas after graduating and did the regional theatre scene there for a year before moving to Los Angeles. I’ve done some regional theatre and staged readings in the LA area, but this is the best gig I’ve gotten since living there.
How is the stage performance different from the film?
The energy. There is nothing like the energy live performance provides, it’s truly a magical and beautiful show to see live. In terms of the story, a little bit has changed. There are plenty of new songs, and there is a lot more focus on the relationship between Ariel and her father. I’ll be honest though, I haven’t seen the movie since I was a kid! So that’s all I really know.
What do you think it is about The Little Mermaid that made it so popular?
The music, the characters, and the relevance it had and STILL has in society. It deals heavily with prejudices and how damaging it can be for not only society currently, but for the future generations that are indoctrinated.
What is your favorite number?
“Kiss the Girl.” I’ve loved that song since I was a kid. It’s got wonderful harmonies which are so much fun to sing. It’s also one of the prettiest numbers to watch.
How did you prepare for the role?
I stared at a fish tank for four days straight without sleeping and I ate a lot of sushi. Then I booked the role. But seriously, the most interesting thing I had to prepare was learning how to ride a rip stick. It’s what Flounder uses to move around on stage as if he were swimming in the water.
The Little Mermaid plays at Bass Concert Hall through Sunday, October 4. You can buy tickets here.
By Elaine Krackau
Photo credit: Bruce Bennett, courtesy of Theatre Under The Stars