Starlight Theatre will open its 67th season of live Broadway entertainment next weekend – with a twist. While audiences will sit under the stars as usual, they’ll venture “under the sea” to enjoy the musical spectacular Disney The Little Mermaid. The undersea adventures of mermaid Princess Ariel and human Prince Eric will create a splash on stage for eight performances June 3-11. Shawnee Mission Health is the show’s presenting sponsor.

This new production of the family-favorite musical launches from Starlight before swimming upstream on a tour that will visit 18 additional U.S. cities through October. A veteran cast of performers with Broadway and regional theatre experience will bring the fairytale to life. Glenn Casale, original director of Disney The Little Mermaid on Broadway, also directs this new tour; he will be at Starlight for final tech and dress rehearsals with the full company and opening night. Disney The Little Mermaid is produced by Starlight and Pittsburgh CLO.

Based upon Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless tale of love and nearly 30 years after the beloved animated film was released, Disney The Little Mermaid continues to spark the imaginations of the young and young at heart. The musical tells the story of an adventurous young mermaid who lives in a magical kingdom beneath the sea, yet longs to leave her ocean home and live in the world above. It also features the songs audiences adore, including such favorites as “Part of Your World,” “Kiss the Girl” and the Academy Award-winning “Under the Sea.”

“We are so pleased to open Starlight’s 2017 season with a show that always ranks very high on our audience surveys,” said Starlight President and CEO Rich Baker. “The performances and spectacle on stage will surely hold the attention of every audience member. The Little Mermaid stirs childhood memories for young adults, and it gives parents and grandparents a perfect opportunity to introduce their own children and grandchildren to the magic of live theatre.”

The cast of The Little Mermaid is led by Diana Huey as Ariel and Eric Kunze as Prince Eric.

Huey continues in her lead role after starring in a previous tour produced by Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre. She has extensive regional theatre credits, including productions in Seattle, Milwaukee, North Carolina, Virginia and more. She has appeared on TV in “Leverage” and “The Glee Project” and is the theme-song singer for “New Day Northwest.” Kunze has Broadway credits in Les Misérables, Miss Saigon and Damn Yankees, has performed internationally in Fun Home, and has extensive regional theatre experience.

One ensemble cast member, James Shackelford, who is an Eric double and understudies Prince Eric, is a native of Liberty, Mo.

Tickets for Disney The Little Mermaid at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $14 to $102. Tickets are available online at, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132.  All performances begin at 8 p.m. Discount prices for groups of 10 or more are available by contacting group sales coordinator Camille Sumrall at 816.997.1137 or

About Starlight Theatre
Starlight Theatre, a recent winner of the Venue Excellence Award from the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), is the largest and oldest performing arts organization in Kansas City and the second-largest outdoor producing theatre in the country. Opened as a theater in 1950 and as a not-for-profit organization in 1951, Starlight presents and produces Broadway musicals and concerts. It also offers extensive community outreach and educational programming, including classes, scholarships and Starlight’s Blue Star Awards, one of the largest high school musical theatre award programs in the nation.

Located on 16 acres in Swope Park, Starlight’s venue includes rehearsal halls, gift store, club area for dining, concessions, gardens, fountains and a 10-story, climate-controlled stage. For more information, visit