Civic Theatres production of "The Little Mermaid" can be described as a giddy, colorful cartoon come to life. The fun, energetic musical is at the 19th Street Theatre, 527 N. 19th St., Allentown through Oct. 22.

Big, bold performances recreate the beloved characters from the Disney film effortlessly.

The titular mermaid Ariel is played with amazingly bubbly enthusiasm by Katie Semon. Semon channels the Disney princess so well, she seems to have literally leapt out of the film on to the stage. Her big belty voice satisfies on the shows big song "Part of Your World" and she throws herself whole-heartedly into every scene.

Also larger than life is Richie Warmkessel as the sea witch Ursula. Warmkessel is wickedly wonderful as the evil diva who loves to be bad and gleefully lures the naive Ariel into Ursulas clutches. LittleMermaidx

Warmkessel doesnt disappoint in the over-the-top "Poor Unfortunate Souls" and has perfected the villainous laugh. Adding to the number are the backing vocals of the sublimely sinister electric eels Flotsan and Jetsam, perfectly portrayed by Abby Creighton and Melo.

Veronica Cummings is not as high strung as the films Sebastian, but instead gives the crab a warm, parental kind-heartedness, and vocally shines when leading the big numbers "Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl."

Karima Brown is adorable as Ariels best friend Flounder in her yellow dress with its blue fin, and provides a surprisingly big voice to the bouncy song "Shes in Love," joined by Deana Mogianesi, Miki Fuentes, Bry Pye, Bianca Burns, Sam Miley and Gabi Hondorp as Ariels mermaid sisters.

Nate Rosarios Scuttle is sweetly goofy, and hilarious in "Positoovity" backed by a dance line of scruffy seagulls.King Triton, played with warmth by Sawyer Whitted, is a father who is maybe a it too stern, but ultimately caring.

Julien Abergas gives a kind and gentle note to the frustrated Price Eric.

Also providing comic relief is Shaun Hayes as Chef Louis in the humorously chaotic "Les Poissons,"

Will Morris directs with a light touch, allowing the characters to shine. The production cleverly uses Heelys (shoes with wheels in them) to allow the underwater characters to glide across the stage as if swimming. Kudos to the cast for making it look so easy.

Nicholas Contis music direction sounds good and choreographer Kimberley Mertz has added some lifts and other fun moves to the stage-filling production numbers. Note worthy is the way in which Mertz has recreated iconic scenes from the film on stage.

A video screen back drop nicely provides the underwater world, from Ariels stash of human artifacts to Ursulas lair. Especially effective are the scenes onboard Prince Erics ship which combine a simple set with captains wheel and the video backdrop. The scenes at Prince Erics palace have impressive depth. Luke Blomstrom provided the scenic design.

Costumes by Scaramouche are splendid. Ursulas costume is particularly eye-popping, while Scuttle, Sebastian, Flounder and the mermaids all look great.

Marcus Geises lighting enhances the undersea feel.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11, 13. 14, 19, 20 and 21; and 2 p.m. Oct. 15 and 22.

Tickets are $39 for adults; $34 for seniors, students and military; and $17 for age 13 and younger.

For information, call 610-432-8943 or go to