Alan Menken

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The Little Mermaid

The tale of a beautiful young mermaid, Ariel, who is captivated by the human world, to the chagrin of her father, King Triton. She spies Prince Eric and falls desperately in love. Sebastian the crab is sent by the king to keep an eye on Ariel, though he cannot stop her from rescuing the prince when he’s blown overboard from his ship during a storm. Ursula the sea witch strikes a deal with Ariel to grant her wish to be human, in exchange for her beautiful voice, and as part of a grander scheme to take control of Triton’s realm. Eric finds himself falling for the now transformed-to-human mermaid, but Ursula tricks him and Ariel, now unable to speak, cannot warn him. In conclusion, Ariel and Eric in tandem foil Ursula’s evil plans saving the undersea kingdom and receiving Triton’s blessing.


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(L-R) Howard Ashman, Robby Merkin, and Alan.

Alan and Howard Ashman accepting their first Academy Award.

“Part Of Your World”

Alan's Thoughts

As a kid who grew up on Disney animated musicals, I could never have imagined that I would someday be the composer of 10 Disney film musicals. And I have to thank my amazing and brilliant late-collaborator, Howard Ashman, for this coming about. As great as being offered Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” as a project to write was, the real excitement for me was being re-teamed with Howard for our first project together since our Off-Broadway days. We had been apart for a while. Howard directed and wrote on Smile with Marvin Hamlisch. I wrote “Kicks: The Showgirl Musical” with “Dreamgirls” writer, Tom Eyen. And, ironic as it seems, after what Mermaid has come to mean in the world, I will always consider it as our follow-up to “Little Shop of Horrors”.