Nostalgia was in the air on Friday night (May 17) as people of all ages flooded into the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles for The Little Mermaid’s 30th anniversary celebration.
The live-to-film experience featured Glee‘s Lea Michele as Ariel, Mrs. Doubtfire‘s Harvey Fierstein as Ursula and Cheech Marin of Cheech and Chong as the lobster-loving Chef Louis.
Accompanied by the “hot crustacean” orchestra, led by conductor Michael Kosarin, the beloved Disney film played in the background as concertgoers dressed as Ariel, Sebastian, Prince Eric and even evil Vanessa smiled bright as swayed along to the live performances of timeless tunes like “Kiss the Girl,” “Part of Your World” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”
The whole event felt particularly wistful, as the venue was transformed into the “Hollywood (Fish) Bowl Dive-In Theatre.” Complete with 1950s animated snack bar advertisements, a couple sitting in an old school convertible on stage and punny previews for other Disney classics including The Sea-Lion King and Oysters, Inc., it truly felt like the good old days. Before the feature presentation, members of the audience participated in a costume contest, and the ultimate prize went to an adorable pair of siblings dressed as the mermaid princess and her crabby sidekick. The diversity in age, color, shape and size of the audience spoke volumes to the effect Disney, and The Little Mermaid in particular, has had on everyone’s childhood.
A stand-out moment of the night was Ken Page, best known to Disney fans as Oogie Boogie in The Nightmare Before Christmas, and his lively performance as Sebastian for “Under the Sea.” Before delving into the fun, he told the crowd that he actually auditioned for the role 30 years ago.
“Since then I have wanted to sing his wonderful songs again,” Page said in a press statement. “One of the biggest treats is that it will be ‘live!’ That’s always a happy place for me. The fact that I’m returning to Hollywood Bowl for my fifth appearance is yet another reason for ‘happiness.’ What great fun this will be!”
It was hard to believe Page didn’t get the role, given how jovially he belted the cherished lyrics as a line of dancers salsa-danced behind him and turned the stage into an aquatic party to say the least. His performance was met by roaring cheers from the crowd.
The fun continues for a second night tonight (May 18) at the Hollywood Bowl. Find tickets here.