EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


July 10, 2014

Meeting the little Mermaid

Adrienne Eller said hello to the Little Mermaid, long before she got to play her in the musical.

“Whenever I went to Disneyland, I waited in line to meet Ariel,” she said. “We owned the VHS. I don’t think I saw it in the theater, but it was one of my favorite movies growing up. I love this show and this story.”

Eller is now at the other end of the line, playing Ariel in North Shore Music Theatre’s production of “The Little Mermaid,” which runs through July 27.

The musical opened in New York in 2008, and is based on the Disney film of 1989, which was drawn from the classic story by Hans Christian Andersen.

The musical’s appearance at North Shore Music Theatre is a New England debut, said producer and theater owner Bill Hanney.

“This show has never been east of New York City,” he said. “This is under the 10th time it’s been done.”

If Eller had to wait in line to meet Ariel at Disneyland, she also had to compete with a crowd when she auditioned for a part in “The Little Mermaid.”

“I went into the open call in New York,” she said. “Anyone can go, and I showed up and there are 200 girls there.”

Eller was originally cast in the play’s ensemble, then to understudy the part of Ariel, before she landed the lead. That happened after Associate Producer Beth Vasta asked Hanney to take a look at Eller, during his third or fourth trip to New York to find an actress for the part.

“I said, ‘Ohmigod, we have our Ariel. How did you find her?’” Hanney remembered. “She said, ‘She’s already in our show.’ It was instant.”

In her final audition Eller sang “Part of Your World,” a song from the first act. Ariel sings it after arguing with her father, the sea king Triton, who doesn’t understand his daughter’s desire to be part of the human world on land.

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