Disney's The Little Mermaid
In a magical kingdom beneath the sea, the beautiful young mermaid, Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above.
Restrictions may apply for International Licensing.
Show Essentials
12
Roles
+ Ensemble
G
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

Act One

Out on the open sea, the sun is beaming, and a magnificent blue sky is accompanied by buoyant clouds. Suddenly, a beautiful young mermaid with red hair crashes through the surface; her name is Ariel. Ariel yearns to be out of the sea and onto land ("The World Above"). Elsewhere, above the sea, a handsome Prince Eric and his crew are searching for treasure. In the midst of sailing, Eric hears a mysterious voice and wishes to pursue it. Despite the protests of his crew and his guardian, Grimbsy, they sail on ahead to seek out the source of the singing ("Fathoms Below"). Ariel reappears as Flounder, a rambunctious young fish and her best friend, meets up with her. As the two converse, Ariel reveals a mysterious object that she found: a fork... but she doesn't know that. Just then, Scuttle the seagull flies down. Ariel spies him. When Scuttle finally lands by the duo, Ariel approaches to show him the fork. Scuttle proclaims to be an expert on "human paraphenicular" and begins to offer rare and unique items in exchange for it. As Scuttle and Flounder play around on an odd pipe that makes music, Ariel becomes stricken with panic – she is late for a very important concert! Ariel and Flounder zoom off as Scuttle carries on with his human oddities.

Far beneath the murky waters, we transition to King Triton's Court. A trumpet blast summons everyone to assemble as King Triton takes reign with a scepter-like trident. He announces a celebration: for the day marks a significant anniversary, the day that Triton inherited his father's Kingdom and forever banished the evil Sea Witch, Ursula, from the Kingdom. In commemoration, Triton announces the performance of an original composition; its composer, Sebastian, steps forward. He is a small crab with a Jamaican accent, and he introduces the musical number and its performers: King Triton's seven beautiful daughters. The girls swim onto stage and begin their performance. As the music climaxes and the sisters prepare to make way for Ariel's grand entrance, she is nowhere to be found ("Daughters of Triton"). The performance is abruptly halted as all begin to scatter, looking for the young girl. With Flounder not far behind, Ariel bursts in. The sisters pounce on her and scold her; King Triton asks for privacy. Now alone, he reminds her that she has been gifted with her mother's singing voice and not to squander it. All is better as the two embrace, until Flounder mistakenly mentions a seagull and the surface. Triton recoils and becomes enraged, warning her of the dangers that humans present. Ariel, feeling hurt, bursts into tears and swims away. King Triton expresses his frustration with Sebastian and admits that she needs someone in life who can be her own guardian angel of sorts; Triton elects Sebastian for the job and, despite his every effort to refuse, he sends him on his way to begin ("If Only – Triton's Lament").

We are led into Ursula's lair as two sneaky eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, slither into view to report on Triton's festivities. Ursula emerges from the darkness, a larger-than-life femme fatale with eight floating tentacles. She rues the day that her brother, King Triton, double-crossed her to take control of the Kingdom, and has been planning her revenge for quite some time ("Daddy's Little Angel"). Ursula reveals her plan to lure Ariel away and steal the girl's singing voice... in order to get back at Triton. The eels are dispatched to begin their pursuit of Ariel.

From the deep emerges a veritable museum of human artifacts that Ariel has collected over the years, dominated by a huge, discarded bust that resembles Prince Eric. Ariel, distraught after her fight with King Triton, sits among her treasures, holding her newly acquired fork. Flounder tries to comfort her as Ariel vents. After Flounder leaves, Ariel sits alone, surrounded by her "stuff." She marvels at her collection and continues to dream of walking on land ("Part of Your World"). Sebastian appears in her grotto, startling Ariel, who is in mid-thought. As he informs her of Triton's assignment, a massive ship passes overheard. Feeling an inexorable pull, Ariel swims up to the ship as Sebastian chases after her. Above water, sailors prepare for a storm. Prince Eric is lamenting his deceased father's expectations to be King; Grimsby reminds him that he must take on this role and that he must also find a Queen soon. Ariel and Flounder bob up to the surface as Scuttle looks on from nearby. Lighting strikes and a storm begins; the trio are separated by the wind and rain, and the ship above is swallowed by crashing waves. It breaks apart as Eric disappears into the voracious sea.

While a storm rages above, Ariel rescues Prince Eric from beneath the waves by guiding him up to the shore and laying him down safely. Ariel, Flounder and Scuttle look on cautiously, unsure of what to do. Suddenly, Prince Eric's chest heaves with life. Ariel now gazes longingly, stricken by his strength and beauty. Grimsby yells out, startling Ariel and Flounder. They quickly vanish as Grimsby comes to Eric's side. Prince Eric recounts his tale of rescue by a singing girl, but the story is immediately batted away. The two walk away as Ariel secretly looks on ("Part of Your World – Reprise").

Back in the Kingdom, Ariel's sisters are in a huddle, gossiping about Ariel. They come to the conclusion that her antics must be the result of love. Flounder overhears and is consulted by the girls – he wholeheartedly agrees ("She's in Love"). Sebastian enters, still searching for Ariel. The sisters, meanwhile, are grilling Flounder, who accidently reveals that it may be a two-legged human. The girls rush off.

On the beach, Prince Eric is alone and scanning the horizon. He cannot get Ariel's voice out of his head and continues to think about her ("Her Voice"). Grimsby enters and attempts to get his mind off the mysterious girl by suggesting a majestic ball on the eve of his 21st birthday. He will invite the most eligible bachelorettes from far and wide to compete for his love. Prince Eric, at first reluctant, finally agrees as he realizes that a singing contest will be the only way he can find the girl who rescued him. He is elated.

Meanwhile, beneath the open water, Ariel sits and plucks a flower. Sebastian appears and voices his concern for the young girl. She reminds him that her life under the sea feels incomplete, but he interjects: the human world is a mess but the sea world is her true home ("Under the Sea"). As Sebastian rejoices with the other underwater creatures, Ariel sneaks away. King Triton then barges in with his other daughters, who have told him of Ariel's love for a human. Triton demands that Sebastian take him to her. Back at the grotto, Ariel is speaking to the heroic bust. As she confides in it, we hear a rumble as King Triton rushes in. He is furious, demanding to know the truth of her interaction with a human. Ariel begins to argue with her father, which only makes him more enraged, using his trident to blast and obliterate the bust. The bust crumbles into a million pieces and, as Triton swims away, Ariel searches for the spyglass she took from Prince Eric; it is still intact. She clings onto it as Sebastian unsuccessfully tries to reason with her ("If Only – Ariel's Lament"). As Sebastian departs, Flotsam and Jetsam slither out from the darkness; Ariel realizes that she is no longer alone. The eels pretend to comfort the child and present a solution on behalf of her Aunt Ursula. Ariel is both scared and skeptical but, when the evil duo suggest a spell that could turn her into a human and get her out of the Kingdom, she relents and agrees to go with them ("Sweet Child"). As she heads into Ursula's lair, Flounder arrives just in time to see her disappear into the deepest voids of the sea floor.

In the lair, Ursula greets Ariel enthusiastically. As the two play a subtle game of cat and mouse, Ursula closes in on her ploy to trick Ariel ("Poor Unfortunate Souls"). She offers Ariel a spell: she can become human for three days – and three days only... unless she is kissed by the Prince. If the Prince kisses her, she will stay human forever. If she is not kissed and the three days pass, her soul is forever Ursula's. She explains to Ariel that there is also a "fee" for the deal. In exchange for this opportunity, she must give away her voice. Ariel initially refuses but, after some pushing, she signs the contract; Ursula's maniacal laugh grows as Ariel's voice soars... and then begins to vanish. She is suddenly propelled into a magical spin and thrust up toward the surface. As her scales fall, she sheds her tail and grows human legs. Ariel crashes violently through the water's surface and takes her first breath as the curtain drops.

Act Two

As the curtain rises, Ariel is basking in the morning sun. She stares at her legs in wonderment and, slowly, tries to stand. Suddenly, Scuttle flaps in while Sebastian and Flounder watch on from the water. When Ariel opens her mouth, no sound comes out. Flounder steps in to explain. With what seems like an impossible feat, the group becomes sad and blue; Scuttle will have none of it, though, and encourages the group to maintain optimism ("Positoovity"). Prince Eric bounds onto the beach and catches sight of Ariel. He tries to engage her but, without a voice to respond, he cannot. Concerned for her well being, he lifts her up and heads off to the palace.

Back at the Kingdom, Triton is full of worry. His trusted advisors return without news, which worries him even more. At the same time, we see Ariel in a lavish bubble bath; awaiting servants to warm, feed and clean her. While they attend to her, we hear inside her head ("Beyond My Wildest Dreams").

As she and Prince Eric depart for dinner, we are introduced to Chef Louis, a French culinary perfectionist with an affinity for blades, who is preparing lobster bisque. It is then revealed that Sebastian has followed Ariel to the palace, and he is cowering underneath a table as Chef Louis tries to catch him ("Les Poissons"). Ariel now finds herself at the dinner table in the banquet hall with Prince Eric. As dinner begins, she starts discovering new and exciting things. Eric is more than amused. Time passes and Chef Louis appears to present the main course. As he lifts the silver dome, we see it is Sebastian. He jumps off the table and runs away. Mayhem begins as a chase ensues ("Les Poissons – Reprise"), but Sebastian escapes.

Eric and Ariel come sauntering into the ballroom following an eventful dinner. She is smiling, and he is giggling. The two share a moment, and Prince Eric offers his hand, insisting that she can say just as much through dance. They grow closer as the dance continues ("One Step Closer"). Just as Ariel is about to kiss the Prince, a mysterious voice is heard from afar. He is taken aback by it and bids Ariel goodnight. Sebastian enters and threatens to march her back to King Triton, but he eventually changes his mind and takes her to bed. Meanwhile, back in Ursula's lair, they are watching the events unfold through her magic shell. They are concerned that Prince Eric is falling for Ariel and must do something drastic to change this ("Daddy's Little Angel – Reprise").

The next evening, Ariel and Prince Eric are in a small rowboat, drifting in gentle waters. Sebastian and Scuttle look on from nearby, realizing that they must encourage Prince Eric to kiss Ariel somehow... and so a plan goes into action. The two use the animals of both land and sea to create a romantic atmosphere, encouraging Eric to make the move ("Kiss the Girl"). With the help of the animals, Prince Eric learns her name and establishes a genuine connection with the mysterious, voiceless girl. Just as he leans in to plant a memorable kiss on Ariel's lips, Ursula instructs the eels to jolt the boat. They do, and it works as the kiss is interrupted. Prince Eric notices the lateness of the day and returns to the palace with Ariel.

It is nighttime. Ariel is in her bed, disappointed and hopeless. Prince Eric is elsewhere, thinking about both Ariel and the mysterious voice. King Triton is in his own chambers and Sebastian is back at the palace. All four reflect on the situation and what the future has in store ("If Only – Quartet").

The next day, we find a large crowd in the Ballroom. The contest begins as princesses step forward from a long line to sing for the Prince Eric. Six of them compete but, after an entire day of singing, he is not satisfied. The sun is beginning to set; time is running out ("The Contest"). Desperate to win him over, Ariel steps forward. She cannot sing, but she can convey her feelings through the dance steps Eric taught her. He is now beginning to realize that perhaps she is the one. Just then, the voice echoes throughout the palace. Although Prince Eric is drawn to it, he has made his choice and tells Grimsby to turn everyone else away! As he leans in to kiss her at last, a giant Ursula peers over the palace wall. With the mighty sweep of two mammoth tentacles, Ursula wipes the guests away and grabs for Ariel and the Prince. A struggle ensues; Ursula successfully yanks Ariel into the water with her.

Back at the lair, Ursula is dragging Ariel along as she tries to fight. King Triton appears and demands her return. Ursula displays the contract that Ariel signed, but proposes a compromise: his daughter's freedom for his soul and power. Triton does not hesitate and, much to Ariel's dismay, signs the scroll. Ursula cackles as the eels imprison the King. In a moment of glee, Ursula becomes distracted and Ariel grabs the magic shell; her voice returns, breaking the spell. In desperation, Ursula attempts to reason with Ariel, but she refuses and destroys the shell. Ursula vaporizes into a cloud of ink; King Triton is free. The two embrace and reconcile as he now realizes where his daughter truly needs to be... on land. He magically restores her to human form and they swim to the surface.

On the beach, Prince Eric and Grimsby have just concluded a full day of searching. Ariel and King Triton appear from the water, where she introduces her father to Prince Eric. Eric and Grimsby are astonished but now understand. After receiving a blessing from both families, Prince Eric decides that Ariel will be his one and only. A crowd gathers to witness the happy occasion as the two profess their love for each other, and Ariel's friends celebrate from the sea as the curtain slowly falls ("Finale Ultimo").

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Flexible
Cast Type: Children
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Ariel
A mermaid and King Triton's youngest daughter. She is obsessed with everything about the human world, and dreams of becoming a part of life above the water. Hardheaded, naive, and emotional, but also kind hearted.
Gender: female
Age: 16 to 25
Vocal range top: Gb5
Vocal range bottom: Ab3
Prince Eric
A human monarch who has no interest of taking the crown. A handsome, affable lad with a buoyant, adventurous nature. After Ariel saves his life, he becomes obsessed with finding her and hearing her voice once more.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: B2
Grimsby
Prince Eric's British guardian. Droll, stuffy, and constantly urging Eric towards his royal duties, specifically marriage.
Gender: male
Age: 40 to 60
Vocal range top: C4
Vocal range bottom: C3
Flounder
A fish and smitten with Ariel, his best friend. Rambunctious but cautious, fearful of the dangers that lurk in and above the water.
Gender: male
Age: 15 to 20
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: A2
Scuttle
A disheveled seagull and expert in human artifacts. Loudmouthed, optimistic, and a bit ignorant, despite his supposed expertise.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 40
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: C3
King Triton
King of the Sea and Ariel's father. Beneath his imposing presence and commanding nature lurks a harried single father who will do anything to protect his daughters. The death of his wife has also given him an irrational fear of humans.
Gender: male
Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: Ab2
Sebastian
A crab and advisor to King Triton. A musical virtuoso who is constantly distraught from keeping after Ariel. Despite his paranoia, he can't bring himself to stand in Ariel's way.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 45
Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: Bb2
Flotsam
An eel and one of Ursula's lackeys. Oily and spineless, he will say anything you want or need to hear.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 40
Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: E3
Jetsam
An eel and one of Ursula's lackeys. Oily and spineless, he will say anything you want or need to hear.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 40
Vocal range top: A4
Vocal range bottom: B2
Ursula
The banished Sea Witch and sister of King Triton. Supposedly spurned at childhood, she will use whatever method necessary to steal the kingdom and claim it as her own. Malevolent, calculating, and deceptive.
Gender: female
Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: Eb3
Chef Louis
The French palace chef, diabolical and violent. A culinary perfectionist with an affinity for blades, seafood in particular.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 50
Vocal range top: A4
Vocal range bottom: Bb2
Ensemble
Crew Members (Pilot, Sailors); Sea Creatures; Mersisters (Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Atina, Adella, Allana); Gulls; Maids; Chefs; Animals; Princesses
Full Song List
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Overture
Disney's The Little Mermaid: The World Above
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Fathoms Below
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Daughters of Triton
Disney's The Little Mermaid: If Only (Triton s Lament)
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Daddy s Little Angel
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Part of Your World
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Part of Your World (Reprise)
Disney's The Little Mermaid: She s in Love
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Her Voice
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Under the Sea
Disney's The Little Mermaid: If Only (Ariel s Lament)
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Sweet Child
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Poor Unfortunate Souls
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Positoovity
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Beyond My Wildest Dreams
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Les poisson
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Les Poissons (Reprise)
Disney's The Little Mermaid: One Step Closer
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Daddy s Little Angel (Reprise)
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Kiss the Girl
Disney's The Little Mermaid: If Only (Quartet)
Disney's The Little Mermaid: The Contest
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise)
Disney's The Little Mermaid: Finale Ultimo

Show History

Inspiration

The Little Mermaid is inspired by the 1989 Disney film of the same name, the story of which is based on the Hans Christian Andersen story. After Disney Theatrical's previous successes with stage versions of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, Thomas Schumacher (head of Disney Theatrical) decided to tackle another popular title. He approached Alan Menken, who had composed the music for the original film, to work on the musical, and Menken brought on lyricist, Glenn Slater, with whom he worked on the movie, Home on the Range. Playwright, Doug Wright, was asked to write the book, and Wright chose to focus the story, less on Ariel finding her prince, and more on searching for a world where she belongs. Schumacher then went to opera director, Francesca Zambello, who decided to use translucent set materials and Heelys footwear to suggest swimming and water.

Productions

The Little Mermaid, a stage adaptation of the hit Disney animated film, had its first performance as a pre-Broadway tryout at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' Ellie Caulkins Opera House. It ran from July 26, to September 9, 2007, selling every seat available for every show of the run. The musical then opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway on November 3, 2007. The original cast starred Sierra Boggess, Norm Lewis and Sherie Rene Scott. The production closed on August 30, 2009, with 685 performances under its belt.

Several regional theaters in the United States have performed the musical in recent years, including the Muny in St. Louis and the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. The Little Mermaid has also enjoyed some international success, with productions in the Philippines, the Netherlands, Russia and Japan.

In the 2012 Dutch production, the show faced a handful of revisions. Some songs were cut and replaced with completely new ones, including "Daddy's Little Girl" and "If Only." The set design also deviated from the American version, choosing to use aerial effects and flying rigs instead of Heelys. The currently licensed version is based on this version of the script.

Cultural Influence

  • The Broadway cast album ranked number 26 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, the second highest position for a cast album in 25 years.

Critical Reaction

"One of the most ravishing things I have ever seen on a Broadway stage. Combines story, song and inventive staging into something that lifts our spirits and renews our faith that theater for 'children' can be enjoyed by everyone."

– TIME Magazine

"A lovable, fun production that provides a good time and an interesting take on the film."

– BroadwayWorld.com

"Just gorgeous – full of Disney magic!"

– Good Day New York

"Visually ingenious and emotionally satisfying.  A musical that does justice to the lovely film from which it sprang."

– The Wall Street Journal

Connect

Billing

Based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and the Disney film that was produced by Howard Ashman & John Musker and written & directed by John Musker & Ron Clements. Originally Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions.

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
The (Licensee)
(50%)
 
Production of
Disney's
(33%)
 
THE LITTLE MERMAID
( 100% )
 
Music by
ALAN MENKEN
(50%)
Lyrics by
HOWARD ASHMAN & GLENN SLATER
(50%)
Book by 
DOUG WRIGHT
(50%)
Based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and the Disney film
produced by Howard Ashman & John Musker
and written & directed by John Musker and Ron Clements
(25%)
 
Originally Produced by
Disney Theatrical Productions
(50%)
 
The name "Disney's" shall be in plain type font, shall NOT be MORE than 33% of the size of the title, you may NOT duplicate the Broadway logo or title nor the logo or title from the Walt Disney film unless you seperately license the logo from MTI.Your credit and the authors' credit shall NOT be LESS than 50% of the size of the title. You are futher prohibited from copying any costume designs,character designs, artwork or other intellecual property from the Broadway play or the animated film, although there may be general similarity to the characters' appearances. *SIGNED RIDER MUST BE RETURNED WITH PRODUCTION CONTRACT IN ORDER TO PROCESS*

Video Warning

If you purchase a separate license to allow non-commercial video recording of this production, you must print the following in your program. ANY VIDEO RECORDING MADE OF THIS PERFORMANCE IS AUTHORIZED FOR PERSONAL, AT-HOME, NON-COMMERCIAL USE ONLY. THE SALE OR DISTRIBUTION OF SUCH RECORDING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED UNDER FEDERAL COPYRIGHT LAW. If you do not purchase the separate license for video recording, you must print the following in your program. The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK30
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE ACT 12
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE ACT 22
PRODUCTION HANDBOOK1

Production Resources

Resource
FULL SCORE VOL. 1 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 2 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 3 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 4 OF 4
KEYBOARD PATCH SOLUTIONS
LOGO PACK
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT SMALL
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT X-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT XX-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD SMALL
ORCHEXTRA
PERFORMANCE ACCOMPANIMENT REC.(OPT)
PERFORMANCE ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING
PRODUCTIONPRO
REFERENCE RECORDING
REHEARSCORE+
STAGE MANAGER SCRIPT
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND
VIDEO LICENSE
VIRTUAL STAGE MANAGER

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASSACOUSTIC BASS , ELECTRIC BASS
CELLO(OPTIONAL)
DRUMSBELL TREE , BELLS , BONGOS , COWBELL , DRUM KIT , MARK TREE , PICCOLO SNARE , SHAKER OR RATTLE , SUSPENDED CYMBAL , SYNTH HANDCLAPS , TAMBOURINE , TEMPLE BLOCKS , TIMBALE , TRIANGLE , WOODBLOCKS
HORN
KEYBOARD 1
KEYBOARD 2
KEYBOARD 3
KEYBOARD 4OPT: SUB FOR STRINGS
PERCUSSIONANVIL , BELL TREE , BELLS , BONGOS , CABASA , CHIMES , COWBELL , CROTALES , EGG SHAKER , FINGER CYMBAL , FLEXATONE , GRAN CASSA , MARK TREE , MOUTH SIREN , NUT SHELLS , PIATTI , RATCHET , ROCK TAMBOURINE , SAMBA WHISTLE , SHAKER , SUSPENDED CYMBAL , TAM TAM , TAMBOURINE , TIMPANI , TRIANGLE , WOODEN GUIRO , XYLOPHONE
REED 1ALTO FLUTE , CLARINET , FLUTE , PICCOLO
REED 2ENGLISH HORN , OBOE
REED 3ALTO SAXOPHONE , BASS CLARINET , CLARINET , SOPRANO SAXOPHONE
TRUMPETFLUGELHORN , TRUMPET
VIOLIN(OPTIONAL)
VIOLIN 2(OPTIONAL)