Disney to Publish Little Mermaid Broadway Companion Book | Playbill

News Disney to Publish Little Mermaid Broadway Companion Book
Michael Lassell's "The Little Mermaid: From the Deep Blue Sea to the Great White Way," a companion book to Disney's latest Broadway musical, will be in stories in late April from Disney Books.

Lassell, who also penned books charting the evolution of the Disney musicals Mary Poppins, Tarzan and Aida, has created the new 176-page book that traces the musical's history from the Hans Christian Andersen tale to the 1989 animated feature and the current Broadway show, now playing the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

For his latest project, Lassell interviewed the cast of the musical, as well as director Francesca Zambello, Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken, Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning book writer Doug Wright, choreographer Steven Mear, scenic designer George Tsypin and costume designer Tanya Noginova.

"The Little Mermaid: From the Deep Blue Sea to the Great White Way," according to publisher's notes, includes rehearsal and production photographs, in addition to offering an extensive behind-the-scenes look at the Broadway production and the creative process of the musical.

The book, priced $40, is aiming for an April 21 release. For more information, visit DisneyBooks.

The Little Mermaid opened on Broadway Dec. 10, 2007 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. *

Tony Award winner Faith Prince, most recently on Broadway in A Catered Affair, will return to The Great White Way in April in Disney's The Little Mermaid. Prince will begin performances as the evil Ursula, the role currently being played by Heidi Blickenstaff, April 7.

In a statement Thomas Schumacher, producer and president of Disney Theatrical Productions, said, "We are beyond thrilled that Faith Prince is joining the cast of The Little Mermaid. She is that glorious creature — a leading lady in the great Broadway tradition and we think a perfect match for the role of Ursula, one of Disney's most uproarious villains. We can't wait to see what happens when she dons Ursula's trademark wig and tentacles."

The role of Ursula was created on Broadway by Sherie Rene Scott.

Faith Prince as Ursula
photo by Joan Marcus
Faith Prince, most recently on Broadway in A Catered Affair, won a Tony Award for her performance as Adelaide in the Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls and starred Off-Broadway in the Lincoln Center production of A Man of No Importance. Her numerous Broadway credits include Noises Off, Bells Are Ringing, James Joyce's The Dead, Little Me, The King and I, What's Wrong with This Picture?, Nick & Nora and Jerome Robbins' Broadway. Her solo recording, "Leap of Faith," was recorded live at Joe's Pub and is available from DRG Records. "In a magical kingdom beneath the sea," according to Mermaid production notes, "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 musical is based on both the Disney animated film (written and directed by John Musker & Ron Clements) and the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

The Little Mermaid features songs penned by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman for the Disney film ("Part of Your World," "Under the Sea," "Kiss the Girl," among others) as well as ten new tunes by Menken and Glenn Slater. Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife, Grey Gardens) wrote the book.

The creative team includes Francesca Zambello (direction), Stephen Mear (choreography), George Tsypin (scenic design), Tatiana Noginova (costume design), Natasha Katz (lighting design), John Shivers (sound design), Angelina Avallone (makeup design), Sven Ortel (projection and video design) and David Brian Brown (hair design). Associate producer is Todd Lacy. Fight director is Rick Sordelet. Technical director is David Benken. Production supervisor is Clifford Schwartz.

Dance arrangements are by David Chase, music coordinator is Michael Keller, orchestrations are by Danny Troob. Music direction, incidental music and vocal arrangements are by Michael Kosarin.

Disney Theatrical Productions is under the direction of Thomas Schumacher.

Tickets for the musical are available by calling (212) 307-4747 or by visiting the Lunt-Fontanne box office at 205 West 46th Street.

For more information visit Walt Disney Theatricals at www.disneyonbroadway.com.

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