Tuacahn makes wishes come true with opening of first 2 summer season shows

Actresses perform at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts, Ivins, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the Tuacahn Center for the Arts Facebook page, St. George News

ST. GEORGE This summer the magic of more than a dozen Disney productions will come to life on the Tuacahn stage in Ivins.

Starting Friday, Tuacahn will begin showing “When You Wish” and “The Little Mermaid” as the first two shows of the summer season, playing from May 24 to Oct. 25.

“When you Wish” 

Featuring segments and songs from “Peter Pan,” “Cinderella,” “Tarzan,” “Moana,” “Princess and the Frog,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “Mary Poppins” and more, Tuacahn’s fresh take on Disney’s “When You Wish” leads audiences on a magical journey through the eyes of a child — with plenty of nostalgic Disney for the adults as well.

Audiences had their first peek at “When You Wish” back in 2015. Director Jeffry Denman said in a press release that there is even more to love in this year’s production.

“We were so proud of the earlier version,” Denman said. “But the audience doesn’t necessarily know what they didn’t see. When you get to go back and do it again you find new, exciting things that are going to articulate the story even better.”

One such addition is a strong emphasis on accuracy and cultural sensitivity, particularly in the “Moana” segment of the show.

Susi Lafaele is a Pacific Islander playing the role of Gramma Tala in “Moana.” She, along with several others of the Pacific Island culture, serve as consultants for the cast and crew.

“As a Pacific Islander, I appreciate that they are cognizant and aware of what they are portraying on stage,” Lafaele said, adding that she definitely feels the pressure of her role.

“We want to be an example to the younger generation. We are more than just rugby football playing luau performers,” she said. “It’s more than the superficial things we see in the movies.”

Lafaele says the many vignettes within “When You Wish” offer a message of hope and wonder that only Disney can give.

“People will be in awe,” she said.

“The Little Mermaid”

For those looking for a deeper dive into one particular Disney show, the Tuacahn cast will be performing Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”

“It’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ like you’ve never seen it before,” Tuacahn Artistic Director Scott Anderson said in the press release.

Thanks to a complete redesign of the costume and sets and a new director at the helm, the 30th anniversary of the Disney film’s release is the perfect time to experience it again, according to Tuacahn.

Tickets to Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and “When You Wish” are available online now starting at $32. For more information, visit tuacahn.org or call 435-652-3300.

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Twitter: @STGnews

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