Little Mermaid Makes a second Splash on Stage

The Disney classic comes to Broadway with new songs and story twists.

Jan. 10, 2008— -- "The Little Mermaid" practically reinvented the animated movie musical when it first came out 20 years ago.

Now Disney, the parent company of ABC News, is hoping for the same magic on stage.

The story, of course, is now a classic: Teenage mermaid Ariel falls for human Prince Eric, but to walk into his life she has to make a dangerous deal with the evil Ursula. And the music, propelling the twists and turns, is unforgettable.

"The Little Mermaid" on Broadway comes updated with 10 new songs and a more "girl power" take on the plot.

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Songs of the Sea

When the original film hit theatres it broke box office records and landed Oscars for its music.

Alan Menken, who composed the movie's original score, including classics like "Under the Sea" and "Part of Your World," says the music was a hit because it "captured the feeling of love and movement."

Menken joined on for the Broadway version as well.

"There's a new song for Ursula called 'I Want the Good Times Back.' Sherie Rene Scott [who plays Ursula on stage] just hits it out of the park," he says.

Scott told "Good Morning America" that she's having a ball getting to "be bad" in her new role. "It's really, really fun! Actors aren't allowed transformation very often. I mean, I don't get to come across, except for early in the morning, as a sea witch!" she says.

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Plot Twists

Doug Wright had the job of updating the story. "It's very daunting. Because the film has such an astonishing fan base, the responsibility you feel in adapting such beloved material is enormous," Wright says.

Sierra Boggess, who's making her Broadway debut in the staring role says she's not playing just any Disney Princess. Ariel was her childhood icon.

"I always grew up loving her and pretending I was her in the bathtub and -- always wanting to sound like her," says Boggess.

The stage adaptation takes on a 21st century dose of girl power. Whereas in the film, Ariel is sort of saved at the end, in the Broadway show Ariel saves herself.

"It's completely different in that way. And we still have the prince. He comes to her rescue, but there's only so much that he can do. And it ultimately becomes Ariel's choice," explains Boggess.

Director Francesca Zambello says the girl power theme is vital for the story's relevance today.

"Young girls growing up today are looking at the world in a very different way. They have more equality with boys their age than even 20 years ago," says Zambello.

It's not only Ariel who's changed though. The faces under the sea have changed too. Ariel's father is black, and the cast's body types are not all svelte.

"These are fantasy creatures living in a fantasy world. Why not let that fantasy reflect the reality that's in our audience?" explains Thomas Schumacher, producer for Disney Theatrical Productions.