The Little Mermaid: Musical

Feature Film:

The Little Mermaid

Music By:

Alan Menken

Lyrics By:

Glenn Slater
Howard Ashman

The Little Mermaid is a stage musical adaptation of The Little Mermaid produced by Disney Theatrical that debuted in Denver in previews from July to September 2007 before beginning Broadway previews in November of that year. It closed on August 30, 2009 after 50 previews and 685 performances and since, various tours have begun. "The Little Mermaid" closed on Broadway after one year because "The Addams Family" was coming to Broadway.

Show Summary

Act I

The story opens with Prince Eric, his adviser Grimsby, and sailors aboard a ship at sea, discussing the "mythical" merfolk that supposedly live under the sea. Grimsby tries to tell Eric that he must return to court to fulfil his birthright as king. However, Eric hears a beautiful voice and commands it to be followed ("Fathoms Below").

Deep on the ocean floor in the merfolk's kingdom, a concert in honour of a defeated coup d'etat by Ursula is underway, being performed by the daughters of Triton the sea king. King Triton's court composer, Sebastian has composed a song for his seven girls to perform ("Daughters of Triton"). However, the youngest mermaid princess, Ariel, is not there for her solo, bringing the concert to a grinding halt. Ariel has forgotten about the concert entirely, and is swimming around the surface, admiring her new found item, a fork. She reveals that she is fascinated with the human world ("The World Above"). Together with her best friend Flounder, Ariel visits Scuttle and his fellow seagulls to ask about the human things she's collected, and he explains them somewhat erroneously ("Human Stuff").

Elsewhere, the sea witch Ursula is planning revenge against her brother, King Triton. She explains that she was banished from the palace because she used black magic, and tells her minions Flotsam and Jetsam to keep an eye on her lovely young niece, whom she thinks will be the key to getting the crown and trident ("I Want the Good Times Back").

When Ariel returns home, she is berated by King Triton, who is angered to learn that she has been on the surface again as contact between the merfolk and human world is forbidden. Ariel rushes off, upset, and King Triton assigns Sebastian, whom Ariel made a laughing stock because of her absence at the concert, to watch over Ariel and make sure she doesn't get into any trouble. Ariel sits alone in her grotto, which contains her collection of human things, and sings about how she does not believe humans are so bad ("Part of Your World").

Ariel and Flounder meet Scuttle at the surface to see Prince Eric's ship and the people on it up close. Grimsby tries to reason with Eric telling him he must find a bride and take his place as king. A storm suddenly hits, and Eric is tossed overboard. He almost drowns, but Ariel saves him and drags him to shore. Ariel realises that she is falling in love with him, and vows to somehow find a way to be with him ("Part of Your World (Reprise)").

Ariel returns to her underwater home, and her changed behaviour makes her sisters and Flounder suspect that she's fallen in love ("She's in Love"). On land, Eric is determined to find the woman who saved his life, but the only clue he has is her voice. He and Grimsby come up with the idea of holding a ball where foreign princesses will sing to him in hopes that one will be the girl for whom he is looking.

King Triton learns that Ariel has saved a human, and confronts her about what happened to her mother ("The World Above (Reprise)"). As Ariel and Triton quarrel, Triton uses his trident to destroy Ariel's human collection. Sebastian arrives and tries to comfort Ariel. Furious with Sebastian for slipping out the truth to her father, Ariel decides to run away. Sebastian tries reason with Ariel by pointing out the wonders of the undersea world ("Under the Sea"). As all the sea creatures join in the jamboree, Ariel swims away with Flounder. As she tries to run away, she is stopped by Flotsam and Jetsam. They sweet talk her into seeking help from Ursula ("Sweet Child").

Ariel goes to Ursula, who presents a deal: Ariel will be turned into a human for three days, during which she has to get the kiss of true love from Eric. If she does, she will be human permanently; if not, her soul will belong to Ursula and she will spend eternity in her "watery hell soaked lair." As payment for the deal, Ariel will have to give up her voice, which would stay safe in Ursula's magic shell. Ariel is unsure about this because of her father telling her that the shell was the fragile life source of Ursula's witchcraft. However, Ursula says it is something she carries stuff inside ("Poor Unfortunate Souls"). Ariel signs the agreement with the ink from her aunt's tentacles. She sings into the shell and swims up to the surface. During this time, Ursula's spell takes effect, and Ariel is transformed into a human.

Act II

Sebastian and Flounder bring Ariel, newly human and mute, to the shore. Scuttle and the seagulls give her a pep talk to bring her spirits up and get her used to her new legs ("Positoovity"). Thinking Ariel is being attacked by seagulls, Eric chases them off. When Ariel tries to speak with him, she realises she cannot talk. Eric brings Ariel back to his palace, where the head mistress, Carlotta and the maids bathe and dress Ariel nicely for her night out with the prince. Ariel is fascinated by the human world she finds herself in and the maids wonder why Prince Eric would bring such a girl to the palace ("Beyond My Wildest Dreams"). That night Chef Louis cooks dinner for Ariel, Grimsby and Eric. He almost cooks Sebastian for the grand finale, but he manages to escape as Louis, the other chefs and the maids start chasing after him ("Les Poissons"/"Les Poissons (Reprise)"). Later, Eric takes Ariel to the ballroom and teachers her to dance ("One Step Closer"). Meanwhile, Ursula is anxiously waiting for the three days to end and sends Flotsam and Jetsam to hurry things along ("I Want The Good Times Back (Reprise)").

The next evening, after taking Ariel on a tour of the kingdom, Eric takes Ariel on a quiet boat ride through a lagoon. Sebastian and Scuttle watch anxiously, waiting for them to kiss. Sebastian and some of the lagoon animals try to create a romantic atmosphere for Eric to kiss Ariel ("Kiss the Girl"). Just before they kiss, Flotsam and Jetsam give the boat an "electric shock" and swim away gloating ("Sweet Child (Reprise)"). As the second day ends, Sebastian gives Ariel a pep talk in order to help her get the prince the next day. Carlotta arrives to get Ariel ready for bed and tells her about the singing contest which is to be held the next day. As Ariel wishes she could tell Eric everything Triton worries about where his daughter has gone, Sebastian is concerned for Ariel since her time as a human is almost up, and Eric still dreams of finding the girl who saved him even though he does not want to lose Ariel ("If Only- Quartet"). Afterwards, Sebastian returns to the sea and rehearses his apology and explanation to King Triton. Sebastian and Flounder tell any angry King Triton about Ariel's deal with Ursula. Fearful for his daughter's life, Triton races off to find her.

On Ariel's last day as a human the contest takes place. All of the foreign princesses sing to Eric to the tune of "Part of Your World" to see if he can recognise the girl for whom he is looking ("The Contest"). All of them fail to do so. Ariel chooses at that moment to dance for him, and Eric picks her. Ursula then appears, floods the ballroom and tells Ariel that the sun has set and she has lost. Flotsam and Jetsam grab Ariel and take her back to the sea.

King Triton arrives to confront his sister and rescue Ariel, who has returned to her mermaid form. He agrees to take Ariel's place and Ursula celebrates her victory as she claims the trident and declares herself queen ("Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise)"). She banishes Triton with a wave of the trident. Eric's ship arrives and Ursula uses the trident to raise the sea level higher, having Eric's interference out the way. While she is distracted, Ariel then grabs the magic shell, regains her voice, and threatens to smash the shell. Terrified, Flotsam and Jetsam swim away. Ursula begins to sweet talk her niece, saying she can turn her human again and reunite her with her prince. Ariel starts to believe her and begins to hand the shell over. Believing the shell is within her grasp, Ursula tells Ariel that since they have proven the princess was not a "daddy's girl" anymore, Triton will rot on the ocean floor forever and Ariel will trust her instead. Furious, Ariel yanks the shell away and smashes it, which destroys Ursula. Triton reappears and is reunited with his daughter.

Triton soon realises that he must let Ariel go and transforms her back into a human ("If Only (Reprise)"). Ariel and Eric are reunited on the beach and Eric and Grimsby are introduced to King Triton. In honour of his daughter, Triton declares peace between the humans and merfolk. Ariel and Eric are married and sail away happily on a ship ("Finale").

The Little Mermaid Jr.

In December 2012 a junior production of The Little Mermaid took place at Children's Playhouse of MD.

Original Broadway Cast

  • Ariel (portrayed by Sierra Boggess)- The beautiful, adventurous, independent, determined, stubborn and headstrong primary protagonist of the musical, dreaming of life on land instead of living under the sea. Ariel is the youngest daughter of King Triton, and the youngest niece of Ursula.
  • Ursula (portrayed by Sherie Rene Scott)- Sea Witch- The musical's sinister and cunning primary antagonist. She tricks Ariel into trading her voice for a pair of human legs in order to hopefully win Prince Eric's heart, only to attempt to take advantage of Ariel's naivety. She is the sister of King Triton, and aunt of Ariel.
  • King Triton (portrayed by Norm Lewis)- The strict but caring father of Ariel, and ruler over Atlantica. He originally hates humans, due to the loss of his wife, causing him to commonly reprimand Ariel for her constant human explorations, but eventually realises it is best to let her follow her dreams. He is the brother of Ursula. King Triton is over protective of Ariel and afraid she will get hurt.
  • Prince Eric (portrayed by Sean Palmer)- The musical's handsome and hopeful secondary protagonist. He is destined to recover the girl that saved him from drowning, ignorant to the fact that it is Ariel, with whom he eventually falls in love with.
  • Sebastian (portrayed by Tituss Burgess)- Ariel's musical and practical guardian, Triton's faithful servant, and court composer. He serves as the musical's primary comic relief, and reluctantly assists Ariel in her efforts to charm Prince Eric.
  • Flounder (portrayed by Trevor Braun/Brian D'Addario)- Ariel's best friend. He often accompanies Ariel on her excursions in search of human artefacts.
  • Scuttle (portrayed by Eddie Korbich)- He believes he is an expert on human artefacts, although he is mainly incorrect, and is often consulted by Ariel for information on her discovered "treasures". He also serves a comic relief, alongside Sebastian.
  • Flotsam (portrayed by Tyler Maynard)- One of Ursula's cunning henchmen.
  • Jetsam (portrayed by Derrick Baskin)- Another one of Ursula's cunning henchmen.
  • Grimsby (portrayed by Jonathan Freeman)- Prince Eric's faithful servant and friend. Seemingly a close friend of Eric's late father, Grimsby's main initiative is to ensure that Eric marries a princess to maintain his promise to the deceased king. However, he realises Ariel is, a princess, and is more than happy to let them wed.
  • Chef Louis (portrayed by John Treacy Egan)- The castle chef, who tries to capture Sebastian and cook him for dinner.
  • Madame Carlotta (portrayed by Heidi Blickenstaff)- Carlotta is seemingly the castle's primary maid and housekeeper. Despite the remarks of her fellow maids and servants, she is exceptionally king to Ariel and does her best to make her feel comfortable.

Musical Numbers

  • "The World Above"- Ariel
  • "Human Stuff"- Ariel
  • "I Want The Good Times Back"- Ursula, Flotsam and Jetsam
  • "Daddy's Little Angel"- Ursula, Flotsam and Jetsam
  • "She's in Love"- Mersisters and Flounder
  • "Her Voice"- Prince Eric
  • "The World Above (Reprise)"- King Triton
  • "Sweet Child"- Flotsam and Jetsam
  • "Positoovity"- Scuttle
  • "Beyond My Wildest Dreams"- Ariel, Maids and Carlotta
  • "Les Poissons (Reprise)"- Chef Louis
  • "One Step Closer"- Prince Eric
  • "I Want The Good Times Back (Reprise)"- Ursula, Flotsam and Jetsam
  • "If Only (Quartet)"- Ariel, Prince Eric, Sebastian and King Triton
  • "The Contest"- Grimsby and Princesses
  • "Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise)"- Ursula
  • "If Only (Reprise)"- King Triton and Ariel
  • "Finale"- Prince Eric and Ariel

Awards and Nominations

62nd Tony Awards

  • Best Original Score: Alan Menken (music); Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater (lyrics) Nominated
  • Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Natasha Katz Nominated

2008 Drama Desk Awards

  • Outstanding Actress in a Musical: Sierra Boggess Nominated
  • Outstanding Set Design of a Musical: George Tsypin Nominated
  • Outstanding Lighting Design: Natasha Katz Nominated

Outer Critics Circle Awards

  • Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical: Sherie Rene Scott Nominated

Drama League Award

  • Distinguished Performance Award: Sierra Boggess Nominated

9th Annual Audience Awards

  • Favourite New Broadway Musical Nominated
  • Favourite Leading Actress in a Broadway Musical: Sierra Boggess Nominated
  • Favourite Featured Actor in a Broadway Musical: Tituss Burgess Nominated
  • Favourite Featured Actress in a Broadway Musical: Sherie Rene Scott Nominated
  • Favourite Diva Performance: Sherie Rene Scott Nominated
  • Favourite Breakthrough Performance (Female): Sierra Boggess Won
  • Favourite New Broadway Song: "If Only" Nominated
  • Favourite New Broadway Song: "She's In Love" Nominated

Grammy Awards

  • Best Musical Show Album Nominated