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'Little Mermaid' brings more sophisticated story to Shea's

Disney stories have a way of deepening on their way from screen to stage.

Take "The Little Mermaid," which comes to Shea's Performing Arts Center on Aug. 15. In the Disney film, Ariel, the restless mermaid who wants desperately to live among humans, is rather one-dimensional. Her story is pinned largely to a male love interest, who motivates her to leave her aquatic life and family behind for a new world.

In the musical, which features all the beloved original songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, Ariel is more complex. Her story is less about chasing a boy than freeing herself from the strictures of her undersea world, despite the best attempts of her friends to convince her otherwise.

"They really emphasize the fact that Ariel does not feel like she fits in under the sea, she doesn't fit in with her family, she doesn't belong there," said Diana Huey, who plays Ariel in this touring production. "It's more of a self-discovery and her being really called to the world above, as opposed to just this infatuation of a teenager."

"The Little Mermaid": Performances are Aug. 15 to 20 in Shea's Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. Tickets are $35 to $85. Call 847-1410 or visit

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