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The Little Mermaid


Musical in 2 acts: book is by Doug Wright, music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman; new lyrics by Glenn Slater. Based on the Hans Christian Andersen Story and the Disney Film

Tryout - Denver Center, Denver, Colorado - 26th July, 2007
Lunt-Fontain Theatre: 10th January, 2008 - 30th August, 2009. (50 previews, 685 perfs)


Act I

("Overture") Prince Eric, his adviser Grimsby, and sailors are 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 fulfils 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'état 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 girls to perform ("Daughters of Triton"). However, the youngest daughter, 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 Ariel, whom she thinks will be the key to getting the crown and trident ("I Want the Good Times Back").

When Ariel returns to the underwater kingdom, she is berated by King Triton, who is angered to learn that she has been on the surface as contact between the merfolk and human world is forbidden. Ariel rushes off, upset, and King Triton assigns Sebastian, of whom Ariel made a laughingstock 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. Ariel saves him from drowning and drags him to shore. Ariel realizes 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 has fallen in love ("She's in Love"). On land, Eric is determined to the find the woman who saved his life, but the only clue he has is "Her Voice". He and Grimsby have the idea of holding a ball where foreign princesses will sing to him in hopes that one will be the girl who saved him.

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 to 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 win 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 that she carries things inside it ("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

("Entr'acte") 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 realizes 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 teaches 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 an 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 recognize 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 of the way. While she is distracted, Ariel then grabs the magic shell and regains her voice, causing Flotsam and Jetsam to swim away. Ursula says to Ariel "Don't be shy, tail-bait, speak up!" Ariel discovers that her voice has come back, and then Urusla demands to her that she gives her back her shell. Ariel, threatening to smash the shell, claims that Ursula would die without her shell, because it has terrible power. 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 realizes 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. Unaware that Ariel has her voice back, Eric asks King Triton for Ariel's hand in marriage. He tells Eric that Ariel can "speak for herself". Ariel gracefully accepts his proposal. Eric suddenly realizes that it has been Ariel's voice all along and they share a lovely kiss. 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").

Musical Numbers

Lyrics by Glenn Slater except where otherwise stated

Act I

  1. Overture
  2. Fathoms Below (Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater) - Pilot, Sailors, Prince Eric, Grimsby
  3. Daughters Of Triton (Lyrics by Howard Ashman) - Mersisters
  4. The World Above - Ariel
  5. Human Stuff - Scuttle, Gulls
  6. I Want The Good Times Back - Ursula, Flotsam, Jetsam, Eels
  7. Part of Your World (Lyrics by Howard Ashman) - Ariel
  8. Storm at Sea
  9. Part of Your World (Reprise) (Lyrics by Howard Ashman) - Ariel
  10. She's In Love - Mersisters, Flounder
  11. Her Voice - Prince Eric
  12. The World Above (Reprise) - King Triton
  13. Under the Sea (Lyrics by Howard Ashman) - Sebastian, Sea Creatures
  14. Under the Sea (Reprise) (Lyrics by Howard Ashman) - Sebastian, Sea Creatures
  15. Sweet Child - Flotsam, Jetsam
  16. Poor Unfortunate Souls (Lyrics by Howard Ashman) - Ursula, Ariel

Act II

  1. Entr'acte
  2. Positoovity - Scuttle, Gulls
  3. Beyond My Wildest Dreams - Ariel, Maids, Carlotta
  4. Les Poissons (Lyrics by Howard Ashman) - Chef Louis
  5. Les Poissons (Reprise) - Chef Louis, Chefs
  6. One Step Closer - Prince Eric
  7. I Want The Good Times Back (Reprise) - Ursula, Flotsam, Jetsam
  8. Kiss The Girl (Lyrics by Howard Ashman) - Sebastian, Animals
  9. Sweet Child (Reprise) - Flotsam, Jetsam
  10. If Only (Quartet) - Ariel, Prince Eric, Sebastian, and King Triton
  11. The Contest - Grimsby, Princesses
  12. Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise) - Ursula
  13. If Only (Reprise) - King Triton, Ariel
  14. Finale (Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater) - Prince Eric, Ariel, Ensemble