photo by Noah Strozier
It really doesn't take much to make five-year-old Emilia Martinez Schellack happy and talkative. Give her something twirly to wear and the promise of a Disney leading lady and she will be a friend for life. Emilia saw Chanhassen Dinner Theatre's production of The Little Mermaid on Wednesday evening. And yes, she was wearing something twirly.
The show runs until Aug. 30.
Upon my arrival: Hug, please! Thank you for the tickets. I love Little Mermaid! Wait . . . except for the mean one. I don’t remember her name.
(Writer’s note: She gives me a picture she drew as a token of her appreciation. It includes renditions of herself and her family, with the genders done in different colors, as well as her name, twice.)
On the drive to Chanhassen: I can’t see. The sun is in my eyes. Are we missing it? Can I watch Frozen on your phone? (singing) “Let it go! Let it go!”
(Writer’s note: She proceeds to sing the majority of the Frozen soundtrack.)
Entering the Chanhassen: Look! It’s Ariel! It’s nice in here. Can I take my coat off? Oh look! There she is again!
On her outfit: Did you see my dress? It has polka dots!
Looking through the program: Is that the girl that’s gonna be Ariel? (She points to Caroline Innerbichler’s picture.) She’s probably gonna wear a wig because Ariel has red hair and she doesn’t. Wait . . . who’s that? (She points to another picture.)
(Writer’s note: She doesn’t feel like reading, so this continues for every member of the cast.)
On dinner, which is cheese curds, chicken tenders, and French fries: This is good! You can have some, too. I think that’s ketchup.
Preshow expectations: I don’t know if it’s gonna be real water or not. I want to know what’s going on back there. Are they putting on their costumes?
Noticing the set for the first time: Look at the moon! It’s a full moon, not a half-moon. Usually it’s a half-moon outside. Oh, and it’s orange!
(Writer’s note: The moon “changes” colors and she points it out every single time. She LOVED the moon.)
At the start of act one: Is it starting? Look it’s starting!
During “Under the Sea,” in which the cast leaves the stage and performs within the audience: What’s going on? What are they doing?
Intermission: It’s not finished. When are they gonna finish it? Wait . . . where’s our cake? Are they gonna finish after we have dessert? (Her grandma calls.) Can we call her back later? (We answer.) Tell Grandma, “Emilia will stay awake for the show.”
On dessert, which is chocolate lava cake: Mmmm, this is really good! (It's also all over her face.) Oops, I got some on my arm. I have to wash my hands now. I needed a little break from watching—my legs hurt.
The start of act two: We’re just in time. It’s starting! The moon is purple! Look! The moon is purple! Wait . . . is it starting over?
On Ariel’s new clothes: (unabashadly shouting) SHE’S BEAUTIFUL! SHE’S BEAUTIFUL!
Ursula is in the audience: How’d she get there? What is she doing?
When Ariel and Prince Eric get married: No! I want to marry Ariel! (whispers) He kind of looks like a magician.
Final thoughts: You know who I loved? Ariel. We should do this again—maybe with Beauty and the Beast! I like that story.
The drive home: (She’s fast asleep.)