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Disney's The Little Mermaid, based on a Hans Christian Andersen fantasy and the classic animated film, follows the adventures of Ariel, King Triton's youngest daughter, who wants to pursue handsome Prince Eric — whom she has previously saved from drowning — on terra firma.

lyrics) and Steven Lutvak (music and lyrics). It is, however, based on a 1907 novel by a British writer: Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal, by Roy Horniman. And there's the British film version: 1949’s Kind Hearts and Coronets, starring the legendary Alec Guinness. The two lead actors in the touring production are having a giddy good time with A Gentleman’s Guide, about which The New York Times wrote, “Bloodlust hasn’t been sung so sweetly, or provided so much theatrical fun, since Sweeney Todd first wielded his razor with such gusto many a long year ago.” But there’s nothing in the show to disturb the squeamish. “Monty doesn’t so much kill the D’Ysquiths (which, of course, sounds like DIES-quick) as helps them along,” says Kevin Massey, a veteran actor who understudied for the role of Monty on Broadway. “All the D’Ysquiths are odious. If they weren’t, how could we like Monty?”

Massey says that wherever A Gentleman’s Guide has played, “people tell us that it was one of, if not the, best show they’ve seen all season.” In fact, he says, some theatergoers are seeing it more than once. The pace is so frenetic, he adds, that it’s easy to find something new upon repeated viewings. Although A Gentleman’s Guide may provide the most fun Massey has ever had on stage, it likely won’t dislodge Little House on the Prairie as the most personally significant play he’s ever done. In that show he met his wife-to-be, Kara Lindsay, who played Laura. John Rapson plays the entire D’Ysquith family — regardless of gender — and rarely, if ever, has such a cast of comically contemptible characters been assembled on one stage, much less in one person. “The D’Ysquiths are terrible,” says Rapson, who first saw A Gentleman’s Guide while performing in the Broadway production of WINTER 2016 | artsLife

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artsLife Winter 2016