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Whether you first came to The Little Mermaid by way of the original Hans Christian Andersen tale, the classic Disney animated film, or the stage musical adaptation, the story resonates with the same emotional power. Strip the tale of its fantastical elements – mermaids and sea witches and talking crabs – and what’s left is the simple story of a young woman struggling to come into her own. There’s a little bit of Ariel in all of us: headstrong, independent, insatiably curious, and longing to know the world in all of its glory, mystery, and diversity. A young woman who passionately pursues her dream, Ariel makes decisions that have serious consequences, all of which she faces with bravery and dignity. Her choice to live in the human world breaks down a fear of difference that is deeply imbedded in her undersea culture. By leaving home, she opens up the eyes of her fellow mermaids and human friends, who learn to accept and appreciate one another. The Little Mermaid is also a tale of fathers and daughters. Though we do not have fins like our heroine, we do have parental figures who, perhaps at times, we feel have stood in the way of our happiness. Many can also sympathize with the widower King Triton who raises his daughter on his own in the best, and safest, way he can – even if Ariel is not always capable of recognizing that loving intention. The same is true of the relationship between Grimsby and Prince Eric, another strong-willed young person searching for his place in the world. As Ariel and Eric learn to make decisions for themselves, King Triton and Grimsby learn the parental lesson of letting go. The stage adaptation of The Little Mermaid – with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, and book by Doug Wright – retains the most beloved songs and moments from the original film while deepening the core relationships and themes, adding in layers, textures, and songs to form an even more moving and relevant story.