‘The Little Mermaid’s’ New Grooves: Halle Bailey, Rob Marshall Dive Into the Musical Numbers — Including Three New Songs and a Deleted Track

When you ask “The Little Mermaid” star Halle Bailey about which moment from Disney’s new live-action adaptation of the animated classic made her marvel the most, her answer isn’t donning Ariel’s fins for the first time (despite practicing to be a mermaid since she was a kid) or belting the ballad “Part of Your World.”

Instead, she lists her castmates’ musical numbers: “Jonah [Hauer-King, who plays Prince Eric, his] song is wonderful — ‘Wild Uncharted Waters’ — his performance of that is iconic. And then ‘The Scuttlebutt’ is amazing. That’s another one of my favorites,” Bailey tells Variety, reflecting on the first time she watched the movie. “Going on the musical journey of the film makes me so happy to watch again and again.”

Along with fresh updates to classics like “Part of Your World,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Under the Sea,” the live-action film features three original tracks, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda. (“For the First Time,” sung by Bailey, is the third, plus there’s a solo from Javier Bardem’s King Triton which didn’t make the final cut.)

Menken dives back under the sea for the live-action version after composing the score for the 1989 animated classic, on which he worked alongside the late Howard Ashman as that movie’s lyricist. In 1990, the legendary duo accepted the Academy Award for best original song for “Under the Sea,” while Menken picked up a solo trophy for the film’s score. (“Kiss the Girl” was also nominated for an Oscar.)

“Revisiting this with Rob Marshall as a director is such a blessing. He’s the best of the best. He knew exactly what he wanted, so that was incredible,” Menken tells Variety of returning for Disney’s live-action version. “And working with a new collaborator, with Lin-Manuel Miranda as my lyricist, that was so much fun.”

As Menken and Miranda’s new songs offer insight into Ariel, Prince Eric and more beloved characters, Variety dives into each track with the help of Bailey, Menken, Marshall and the film’s cast.

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