Original Broadway Cast Recording

The Little Mermaid

Music by: Alan Menken

Lyrics by: Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater

Distributed By: Walt Disney Records


Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            I have always loved Walt Disney’s The Little Mermaid, since its release into theaters in 1989.  Along with Beauty and the Beast, it remains one of my favorite movies.  I know the soundtrack of both movies by heart – the songs are catchy and fun to sing and they just stay with you, no matter how many years have passed since you last heard them.  

            When The Little Mermaid joined the ranks of Disney tales that have been recreated into Broadway musicals, I was skeptical.  I could understand Tarzan, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King.  Their conversion should be rather easy – lots of costumes and music from the movies.  No big deal.  But much of The Little Mermaid takes place under water…with people who have huge fish tails for legs!  How were they going to pull this one off.  And yet, I had heard terrific things about the Broadway version of The Little Mermaid.  So, when I was asked to review the Original Broadway Cast Recording, I couldn’t wait.

            The musical incorporates the classic songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman that I always loved, such as Under the Sea, Kiss the Girl and Part of Your World.  But this time around, there are ten new songs created especially for the musical version of The Little Mermaid by Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater.  Each new creation perfectly complements the original songs and adds a new flare to the Disney classic.  They are just as catchy as those of the movie and just as much fun.  My favorite new song of the bunch has to be I Want the Good Times Back, a song performed by the evil Ursula as she hatches a plan to destroy her brother, King Triton. 

            Sierra Boggess is terrific as Ariel, sounding almost exactly like the original Ariel of the movies (Jodi Benson).  Sean Palmer and Norm Lewis lend their powerful voices to the roles of Prince Eric and King Triton respectively.  Tituss Burgess is simply perfect as Sebastian.  But, in my opinion, Sherie Rene Scott steals the show as Ursula, wowing the listener with her stellar vocals and perfect delivery.

            I loved the fact that The Little Mermaid Original Broadway Cast Recording comes complete with a 36-page booklet by Doug Wright.  In this booklet, mini biographies of all those involved in the creation aspects, photos of scenes in the musical, and the lyrics to every one of the songs, just in case you feel like singing along and don’t know all of the words.

            I can only find one fault with the entire soundtrack.  Even though I fell in love with this tale as an adult, I have always been aware that The Little Mermaid was a children’s tale.  Thus, I have one problem with one of the songs – my favorite new song, I Want the Good Times Back.  There is a line towards the end of the song that sounds decidedly less than child-worthy: “The trident, crown, the throne – / All mine alone! / The whole damn works!”  Again, children’s tale – do we really need the word “damn” in there.  Maybe I’m just being picky, but…

            The Little Mermaid Original Broadway Cast Recording is one of the most enjoyable soundtracks I have received in a long time.  It was terrific to sing along with the songs I fell in love with years ago and even more fun learning the new songs created just for the Broadway version.  I can’t imagine one person who wouldn’t enjoy adding this soundtrack to their collection. 


 


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