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The Little Mermaid: From the Deep Blue Sea to the Great White Way (Hardcover)

General Information:

Media Type: Book
Type: Other
Release Date: 2009-12-09

Geek's Thoughts: Just as the title suggests this book traces the story of the Little Mermaid from its origins with the Hans Christian Andersen tale more than a century ago, to the hit Disney animated film of 1989, and into its run on the Great White Way (Broadway) which started in 2008. The narrative traces the roots of the tale and how it was adapted for the screen and stage. It explains the process of how the play came to be and what goes into assembling the production. This large format (12.2 x 9.3 inches) book includes page after page of great images from the show, the rehersals, and the Disney archives, as well as concept art from the stage production. Each element of the play from the story, the music, the costumes, and the characters are discussed in detail.


For those of you interested in how the play came to be and how it differs from the Disney film this is a great piece to read. For those that have seen the Musical on Broadway this seems like a great keepsake as it lists the opening night cast, has incredible pictures, as well as a great story and information about the play.

Chapters Include:

  • From the Producer
  • From the Composer
  • Ariel's Story
  • Ariel's Circle
  • Ariel's Voice
  • Ariel's World
© Walt Disney Company

I really enjoyed learning about the people involved in the production and the various routes they took and roles they played in making this play a reality. One of my favorite sections of the book was the song list. In this section there is a page devoted to each song, with a key verse/phase from each and an image from the play. For someone like me who has not seen the play it was a great way to visualize how it all comes together. I just want to comment again on how much I enjoyed the large, full page (or nearly full page) pictures and artwork. I think this really makes the book, especially for someone like me who is more technical and less artistic.

Me being an engineer (and geek) would really have liked to have seen more time (pages) devoted to the technical aspects of the play. There is a chapter on the sets and some insets on the rigging, backstage management, and other special items such as the heelys (which I really enjoyed learning about), but I would really have liked to have seen more. There are also some mentions/examples of the costume features but again this seemed to skim the surface to me. Where as the sections on the music and even some of the choreography seem to go into incredible detail. I would assume this is because of the author and his interests (as well as the target of the book) that it takes on more of an artistic angle.

Michael Lassell has written three previous books about Disney’s Broadway shows: Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida: The Making of the Broadway Musical, TARZAN®: The Broadway Adventure and most recently, Mary Poppins: Anything Can Happen If You Let It. He holds degrees from Colgate University, California Institute of the Arts, and the Yale School of Drama, and is currently the features director of Metropolitan Home magazine.

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