Disney Theatrical’s latest Broadway show is "The Little Mermaid". Admittedly, it’s received mixed reviews, but put aside everything you might have heard about the show’s odd staging and weak choreography. There is at least one diamond to be found among the pebbles of the show and that is the music.
Your favorite songs from the Alan Menken and Howard Ashman movie score are there, along with 10 new songs by Menken and Glenn Slater. This Playbill Radio podcast goes into the rehearsal hall to provide a sort of preview, and Amazon.com has previews of the songs.
February 26 marks the official release of The Little Mermaid Original Broadway Cast Album and it’s available as both CD and MP3 album.
The full press release is below the cut:
WALT DISNEY RECORDS TO RELEASE THE LITTLE MERMAID ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM ON FEBRUARY 26
Featuring "Part of Your World", "Kiss the Girl" and Academy Award® Winning Song "Under the Sea" by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, With 10 New Songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater
"One of the most ravishing things I have seen on a Broadway stage."
— Time Magazine
"Expect it to run from here to eternity and back again!"
"A musical that does justice to the lovely film from which it sprang"
— The Wall Street Journal
Walt Disney Records will release the original cast album for the new Broadway musical, The Little Mermaid on February 26, 2008. Based on one of the most beloved Disney films of all time and the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid, presented by Disney Theatrical Productions, is Broadway’s sparkling new musical.
Led by the award-winning director, Francesca Zambello, some of the theatre’s most innovative artists have collaborated to create The Little Mermaid. The score features the classic songs: "Part of Your World," "Kiss the Girl" and the Academy Award®-winning Best Original Song, "Under the Sea," composed by eight-time Academy Award® winner Alan Menken and his longtime collaborator, the late Howard Ashman, as well as 10 new songs by Mr. Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater. The book for the new musical is by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning playwright Doug Wright.
After graduating from New York University, composer Alan Menken began his career writing advertising jingles, accompanying ballet classes, and working as a musical director. He met lyricist Howard Ashman and began collaborating on several productions for the WPA Theater, ultimately achieving widespread acclaim with Little Shop of Horrors. The musical was later turned into a film, which earned the duo their first Academy Award® nomination.
The success of Little Shop of Horrors led Menken and Ashman to Walt Disney Studios and The Little Mermaid, which would go on to earn two Oscars, for best original score and best song ("Under the Sea"). Unfortunately after completing their work on the film Beauty and The Beast, Ashman passed away.
Menken continued his work for Walt Disney Studios composing for such films as Aladdin, Pocahontas, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In 2004 he turned to lyricist Glenn Slater for the animated film Home on the Range. Slater (with composer Stephen Weiner) received The ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award in 2000 for promising young musical theater composers. When it came time to adapt The Little Mermaid to stage, Menken turned once again to Slater.
"I always felt that Glenn was a good match for Howard, that he had a similar, wicked, slightly cruel sense of humor," said Menken. "I would never want to even attempt to re-create the soul of Howard. But the souls of the characters, as interpreted through Glenn, are very compatible with those interpreted through Howard."
The recording of The Little Mermaid was done at the same place where Menken and Ashman recorded the film soundtrack. Menken described, "This production has been a wonderful opportunity to revisit the songs I wrote with Howard Ashman. We did the recording at Legacy Studios, which is where we recorded the film soundtrack, so it was like Howard was right there with us."
In a magical kingdom beneath the sea, a beautiful young mermaid named Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. But first, she’ll have to defy her father — the king of the sea — escape the clutches of an evil sea witch and convince a prince that she’s the girl with the perfect voice.
The Little Mermaid stars Sierra Boggess as ‘Ariel,’ Sean Palmer as ‘Prince Eric,’ Norm Lewis as ‘King Triton,’ Tituss Burgess as ‘Sebastian,’ Eddie Korbich as ‘Scuttle,’ Jonathan Freeman as ‘Grimsby,’ Derrick Baskin as ‘Jetsam,’ Tyler Maynard as ‘Flotsam,’ John Treacy Egan as ‘Chef Louis,’ Trevor Braun and Brian D’Addario alternating as ‘Flounder,’ and Sherie Rene Scott as ‘Ursula.’
Performances of The Little Mermaid began on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46th Street, NYC) on Saturday, November 3 at 8pm. The production officially opened on Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 6:30pm.
The playing schedule for The Little Mermaid on Broadway is as follows: Tuesday – Saturday evenings at 8pm, Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2pm, and Sunday matinees at 3pm. Tickets for are $51.50 – $121.50 (includes a $1.50 facility fee), available through Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4747, online at www.DisneyOnBroadway.com, or in-person at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46th Street).