The Little Mermaid
The Playmill Theatre (2017 & 2018)
The music from The Little Mermaid is immediately recognizable within the first few notes. Most everyone has an intimate connection to the movie that saved the mouse. When I first approached the sound design, I knew I needed to be able to design independently from the movie, while still staying true to the style people know and love. This involved manipulating sound effects to seem like they pieces of the
music. Sound effects were repitched to match the key of the music, and the entire ocean (creatures, bubbles, and all) began to sound of song.
Since there were so many animations happening, I often felt I was designing for video more than a stage production. While unconventional, it worked really well in my favor. I was able to design complex sound sequences that would normally be hard to execute (even with the help of QLab) that would complement what was happening on the LED video wall we had just installed.
My design called for a very large library of magical sound effects. Magic from Boom Library was a perfect resource. Sequences would be made up of dozens of these effects carefully placed while watching the projections I had already designed. Musical theatre is becoming heavily underscored more and more often (a trend I assume comes from our love of movies). The benefit of this being the ability to automatically tie time-sensitive cues to certain moments in the music. Everything needed to match the audience was seeing. Here's a look at one of my favorite sequences in the show, Ursula's Demise.
This is probably the show I’ve had the most fun mixing. The show calls for some very large group numbers, and the smaller numbers and duets need to be mixed so intricately that time would fly by. During a year of automation, I chose to keep the mixing completely separate as I wanted it to be dynamic as possible. I mixed every show slightly differently depending on the actor’s performance. The music was as much of a character as they were.
I created an episode of The Playmill Theatre’s behind the scenes series Behind Stage Doors that covered all
aspects of my design work on the show. I personally think it’s all worth a watch. If you’re interested in more about my work on The Little Mermaid, you can view my post on the Projection Design here.