‘Little Mermaid’ comes to Suffolk

Published 9:37 pm Wednesday, October 16, 2019

A wonderfully fishy fable will grace the stage at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts this weekend, and the cast and crew include a sizeable contingent of Suffolk natives.

The Hurrah Players will bring “The Little Mermaid” musical to the stage on Saturday, and center Executive Director Susan Lawrence expects the event to sell out.

“Tickets are flying out of here,” she said Wednesday. “The Hurrah Players are just a quality family musical producer, and we’re thrilled to partner with them.”

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The Hurrah Players have previously brought “The Lion King” and “Annie” to the Suffolk stage, and both sold out. This year they are booked twice — this weekend as well as a March 2020 show that will be announced in January.

Featured in “The Little Mermaid” will be Michael SanGiovanni, a 2017 Nansemond River High School graduate, who is playing Prince Eric.

“I love to do the show in Suffolk, especially because it’s my hometown,” SanGiovanni said. “I just love doing what I love in my hometown.”

He said his favorite song in the show is “If Only.”

“The characters really get to express themselves, and it’s a beautiful song,” he said.

His younger brother, Jay SanGiovanni, is a sound engineer on the show, and their father, John SanGiovanni, is one of the sailors in the cast. Michael and Jay’s uncle, Scott Chasey, and their cousin, Becky Chasey, are also set designer and an ensemble cast member, respectively — and they’re all from Suffolk, Hurrah Players Artistic Director Hugh Copeland said.

“We’ve got a whole Suffolk contingent,” he said, adding that the costume designer, Ann Hilton, also hails from Suffolk.

Copeland said he wanted to do “The Little Mermaid” to have a big show to open the Hurrah Players’ 36th season. The cast has about 65 members, and several of the ones in the big roles happened to be available, he added.

“It’s the full Broadway show,” he said. “We just have a lot of talent, and it just seemed to fall in place as the show we need to be doing.”

The show was already performed Oct. 11-13 at the Roper Performing Arts Center in Norfolk and sold out all of the shows, Copeland said.

“We’re so happy to be coming to Suffolk,” he said. “It’s a beautiful theater; it’s a hidden gem a lot of people don’t know about.”

Lawrence said the Suffolk Center is excited to get groups like the Hurrah Players to bring quality arts to Suffolk and Western Tidewater.

“It’s nice to serve our neck of the woods,” she said. “(Copeland) is a true professional; just top-notch, quality performers. Just the costuming alone is going to blow your socks off. They spare no expense.”

The cast also includes Norfolk teacher Sharon Cook as Ursula, Raymond Dimaano as Sebastian and Clara Rancourt as Ariel.

Tickets are $20 for youth and $25 for adults in advance; all prices are $5 more the day of the event. Reserve seats by calling 923-2900 or online at suffolkcenter.org/littlemermaid.