Chelsea Morgan Stock
Hometown: San Jose, California
Currently: Fishing for freedom (and her prince!) as titular daddy-defying half-girl/half-poisson Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
Don’t Hate Her Because She Never Waited Tables: Stock swam into The Little Mermaid fresh out of Boston Conservatory. In fact, she first auditioned during her senior-year Christmas break and made it all the way to the final five for the title role, which went to Sierra Boggess. “It was the very end of their process,” she recalls. “I came in, they liked me, I came in for a work session, and the next day was the final day. Sierra was there, and three other girls. The next week, they called me to come back for the ensemble. Then I got to do my [senior] showcase and graduate and I started rehearsals a week later.” Stock had been playing Andrina—one of Ariel’s seven seashell-bra-clad sisters—and understudying Boggess since the show’s November 3, 2007, start. So who better to fill Ariel’s fins?
Family Ties: Stock was inspired to go into the theater thanks to her aunt, actress Janie Scott, who made her Broadway debut in Peter Pan at the Lunt-Fontanne, where The Little Mermaid’s playing. (Wait—it gets better.) “She was in the exact same dressing room I was in when I was in the ensemble,” says Stock. “And Faith Prince, who is our Ursula, [lived] in the same building as my aunt, so they’re old friends. It’s very crazy!”
The Audience Participation Factor: Anyone who’s seen The Little Mermaid knows that pint-size audience members don’t hold back when they’ve got something to say—and that’s just fine with Stock. “It often happens when I’m onstage with Prince Eric. When we have a kiss and Ariel can’t speak, they yell out for me. There’s that point when Prince Eric says, ‘What’s your name?’ and she can’t respond. You’ll often hear a little kid yell, ‘Ariel!’ and everyone laughs. It’s great because you know they’re into it and they’re having fun!”
About Those Roller Skates… You do know that the actors in The Little Mermaid don’t actually swim, right? “They’re wheelies with one wheel on the heel,” Stock explains of the mermaids’ moving mechanism. “I definitely had never attempted that before! We had to do it in the audition—which was quite interesting. They should have taped those. Nobody was great! Now they’re pretty fun.” And if you’ve ever wondered just how that big shiny tail gets attached to such a tiny actress: “I have leggings on, and then I have shorts over it that the tail attaches into, and then a skirt that goes over it, so basically the tail hooks into something on the back of my shorts,” Stock reveals. “Luckily I don’t have too many quick changes.”
Big Fish in the Big Apple: Back in March, Stock and her Mermaid castmates got to hobnob with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg—and when we say “hobnob,” we mean “sing and dance and spoof.” That’s right, Stock got to share the stage with Mayor Mike, local politicians and the NYC press corps at the Inner Circle charity dinner at the Hilton. The sketch, Stock explains, was called The Little Term-aid, “since he’s trying for another term.” So Bloomberg sang? “He sure did. He sang ‘Part of Your World.’ All the songs had different lyrics.” And, um, how was he? “He’s not a singer or an actor,” she says diplomatically, “but that’s what the audience loves—it’s a big roast. He was very nice.” The mayor wore custom-made maritime wear, she reports, “a sea jacket with a tail off the back.”
Up Where They Walk, Up Where They Run: Swimming around your undersea kingdom may be good exercise for a mermaid, but Stock wanted something a bit more challenging: the ING Miami Half Marathon, which she ran on January 25, as a fundraiser for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. “I don’t like making it an issue or the focus of who I am, but at one point I was really sick, and I pushed my way through it,” says the actress, who raised more than $11,000 for her cause. “I work with it, and I still get to live the dream that I always wanted to do."