Show History



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 music for the musical, and Menken brought on lyricist Glenn Slater with whom he worked with 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, but 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.


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 Dutch production in 2012, 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.