"Are you ready for me to sing my song?" Jodi Benson asked the audience before launching into a rendition of "Part of Your World," sung by the familiar mermaid people know her for.
Benson, who gave a voice to Ariel in "The Little Mermaid" and Barbie in the "Toy Story" movies, made a visit to The State Theatre Sunday for two performances, at 3 and 7 p.m., singing both Broadway songs and Disney hits.
Starting off the show was a chorus composed of 60 children who performed "There's No Business Like Show Business." Benson then came out singing "Don't Rain On My Parade," and the show was off.
Benson told stories and sang songs from shows she had been in, had special meaning to her and ones she felt told a good story, including songs from popular contemporary musical, "Wicked."
"Are you ready for some Disney music?" Benson asked before starting the second act.
The second half of the show was full of Disney favorites led off by a performance of "Circle of Life" by Benson and the chorus. It included hits such as a medley of songs from "Beauty and the Beast" and, of course, "Part of Your World."
The performance was not entirely Benson singing. Brad Frenette, Class of 2012, performed a medley of songs sung by male Disney characters, which was met by audience participation and laughs.
Benson also performed "A Whole New World" with current Penn State student, Greg Lamontagne (sophomore-musical theater).
Also included in the first act was a tap performance to "Saturday Night Fish Fry" by Sarah Mason and her company at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts.
Executive Director of The State Theatre Richard Biever accompanied on the piano for the entirety of the performance, and members of his family, including his wife and daughter, also performed in the show.
Biever said seeing the audience's reaction was one of the things he was most looking forward to for the event.
He said not many knew the Broadway side of Benson, as some "only knew Ariel," and he was excited for them to hear that aspect of her performance.
Elena Gomez, 13, was one of many in the chorus that accompanied Benson throughout the performance.
"I thought it was a cool opportunity to get to meet her," she said.
She said it was "really amazing" to get to meet Benson at the third rehearsal for the chorus, which took place on Saturday and was joined by Benson. She called Benson an inspiration.
She was most excited for the second act when Benson would perform "Part of Your World."
Many were looking forward to Benson singing that particular tune, but for some, her costume changes were what caught their attention.
Piper Weldon, 10, said Benson's four dress changes were her favorite part. Weldon said she was excited about meeting her and getting a picture with Benson.
"I've never met anyone big before, like a movie star," she said.
She said she was also excited for Benson to sing the hit from "The Little Mermaid," calling it "the original song that she sang." She said the movie was her favorite, and her mother made Weldon her own fishtail after seeing the movie.
Hannah White, 8, was also a member of the chorus who was looking forward to becoming part of Benson's world by hearing her sing.
Her mother, Lynn Cockett, said she was most looking forward to seeing her daughter perform on stage.
"Performing is what gives her joy," she said.
After Benson sang "Part of Your World," which she jokingly said she saved for last so the audience wouldn't leave, the show concluded with "Let There Be Peace on Earth" by Benson and the chorus.
"Thank you for allowing me to be part of your world for these many years," she said.