The Little Mermaid Valley Youth Theatre Review

Posted on June 26, 2016

The Little Mermaid Valley Youth Theatre ~ A Multicultural Review

Presented Live at Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

By Joy & the Junior Review Team (Grape Girl 9 years, Fashionista 6 years, Tiny Tot 3 years)

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we were SO excited to get to see “Disney’s the Little Mermaid” performed live by the Valley Youth Theater at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix, Arizona. My Junior Review Team and I have had the opportunity to attend the live performance and enjoy lunch. Today we get to share our honest and inspiring review! Wait – there is way MORE to this story!

We had NO IDEA when we came to this live performance that it would actually CHANGE a LIFE  in our Multicultural (African American / Caucasian) family.

You will not believe what happened …

Anticipation filled every footstep of my Junior Review Team as they made their way to the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix, Arizona. We reviewed some vocabulary such as cast, set, stage direction, communication (verbal and non-verbal), song, dance, and other aspects of performance arts (FREE vocabulary list for you below).

We were eagerly discussing these topics of theater as we made our way to watch the show.

Once inside, Tiny Tot exclaimed, I love the “soft seats Mommy!”

Every part of the performance was exceptional. The lighting, costumes, music, script, artistic expression, and audience engagement was unforgettable. The creative script retained the essential components that my Junior Reviewers love about The Little Mermaid story, yet it brought surprise joy at every turn. 

As soon as the show ended~ literally the moment the curtain closed~ Tiny Tot informs me, “I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!!!” SO, I made a quick sneak out the back door and we made it to the nearest restroom JUST IN TIME!

While standing outside the stall so my Tiny Tot could have – “Privacy Pwease Mom” – I noticed the bathroom was completely empty, so I began singing to the magical tune of “Part of Your World”~ “Look at this stall … treasures untold … how many paper towel rolls … can my toddler unfold?!” 

My transitory artistic expression was interrupted by a BEAUTIFUL – in fact – THE MOST BEAUTIFUL live Mermaid I have ever seen.

The shimmering ocean princess unexpectedly swam up close to us, splashed some water on her sparkly brown hands, and then began to glide instantly out the back door … when suddenly … my daughter caught a glimpse of her.

“WOW.” She gasped.

“A Real Mermaid ~ with dark skin like me.”

My daughter almost whispered the phrase, as if the words themselves, were so powerful they needed to be said one-breath-at-a-time. The Mermaid, upon hearing her, turned around quickly and smiled, “You are Beautiful! What is your name?” My hesitant daughter found her own Voice and confidently told the Mermaid her name (and the names of her sisters.) Then, just as quickly as the Mermaid swam near us, she was gone again, back into the sea of the post-performance crowd, and we were ushered off to enjoy a lunch in the common area. 

Just as my little guppies were eating their last bite of the dessert (yes, there was dessert too!) we heard the most familiar and beautiful mermaid voice …. calling each of my children by name. 

What happened next transformed this little Mermaid of the Valley Youth Theatre, into a Multicultural Queen in the eyes of my daughters.

She remembered the innocent names whispered from the clammy lips of my 6 year old earlier in the day.  

She told each of my children – by Name – “You are Beautiful.”

She asked each of my children  – by Name – what their favorite part of the show was. She knelt down to listen to their Voices.

One of my children told her with complete sincerity,

“Seeing a Mermaid who looked like me on stage was my favorite part of the entire show.”

To which the Mermaid Queen sincerely replied back along the lines of,

Seeing your smiling faces in the audience was my favorite part of the show.

This Mermaid Queen had no idea that one of my Daughter’s in the Junior Review Team was struggling being the “only girl with brown skin” in her ballet academy. She had never seen a Little Mermaid portrayed that looked like her. Sometimes life only gives us a FEW seconds in the spotlight. What we do with our lives in that moment, makes all the difference.

Like a true star, this Mermaid Queen took that small window of opportunity with my Daughters, and used it to shine.

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

Prior to meeting this beautiful and inspiring artist from the Valley Youth Theatre, my Daughter felt like a fish- floundering against the cultural current in her performing art.

After meeting this shining Live Mermaid, my Biracial Daughter found her own strength to swim, her own rhythm to dance, and in contrast to Ariel’s script, she traded nothing of who she was away ~ to find her own voice. Exposure to the arts opens a powerful door of self growth for everyone, of every age, and every culture. Especially when you meet a Star like we did. 

I think children and families of all ages, and all cultures, will love this live performance of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” by The Valley Youth Theatre. With new twists and turns, this rendition is sure to keep your family swimming back for more! Don’t miss this one! Click here to buy your tickets for the Valley Youth Theatre  live today!

My Junior Review Team and I give it a Splashing approval!

~ Joy

(No payment was received for this performance review. Even when paid, I provide my honest opinions for all reviews.)

Links For You:

Kids Theater Free Dictionary List of Terms – Free Terms to Learn!

Herberger Theate Center – Buy Tickets for The Next Show!

Valley Youth Theatre – Buy Tickets for the Next Show!

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Author Joy Brownlee. Written and Photography copyrights
to Joy Brownlee @ for the photos bearing Joy's watermark.

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