WHAT IF you had an animated film that had been enthusiastically embraced for 18 years and you wanted to take it to Broadway…but almost the entire thing happens under water? Well, you’d be in the spot Disney was in bringing “The Little Mermaid” to life on the stage. People who went to the out-of-town tryout in Denver were surprised at how many adults came without children. And surprise, surprise — the Mermaid has had new life breathed into her by Pulitzer Prize-winner Doug Wright of “I Am My Own Wife” fame. (He is said to have begged for this demanding job.) The Alan Menken-Howard Ashman songs remain, three of which were nominated for the Oscar, with “Under the Sea” winning. Then there is the matter of a little girl named Sierra Boggess who was just 7 years old when she first saw “The Little Mermaid” at the movies. She was “discovered” by Disney when playing Christine in “The Phantom of the Opera” in Las Vegas and stepped right into those mermaid fins in Denver, her home town. I do predict that the Great White Way will glow red-hot when this musical previews Nov. 3 and opens Dec. 6.
HARVEY Weinstein might have found the first of what could be a new group of young actors who will personify the edgy side of the mogul’s studio products, Sam Riley. His performance in “Control,” a stark biopic about Ian Curtis of the British band Joy Division, is something to see. Although 27 years old, Riley is tragically convincing as an ambitious teenager in 1970s England, struggling with his band, his health (he was epileptic), his too-soon marriage, an affair that leaves him wracked with guilt, depression and a darkness of the soul he cannot conquer. Samantha Morton is his equal playing the young wife. Riley, who has referred to his acting career as “an accident,” seems ready for stardom — whatever stardom is, these days.
THERE SHE was, in jeans, a white blouse and a cream-colored shawl, Katie Holmes offering baby Suri her first Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3. … Mary Kate Olsen recently had their dinner at Soho House on the roof terrace so she could chain smoke through the meal.