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'Little Mermaid' to surface in Copenhagen

March 05, 2004|From Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Copenhagen will stage a musical based on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" next year, with 650 amateurs dancing and singing in a huge floating theater.

The musical, Denmark's biggest theatrical event ever, will mark the 200th anniversary of the fairy-tale writer's birth. Denmark will celebrate Andersen, who died in 1875, with hundreds of events, parties and festivals.

"We think it's a great idea to have ordinary Copenhageners staging this musical so they can take part in the Andersen 200-year celebrations," head organizer Nanna Soerensen said.

Auditions are set for April 2 at the Copenhagen City Hall.

The musical will be performed on a stage floating in the Copenhagen harbor. About 2,500 people will be able to watch from the quay at each of the eight performances in late July 2005.

The play will be based on Andersen's fairy tale and not the 1989 animated Disney version, which had a happy ending.

In Andersen's version, the mermaid, a sea king's daughter, falls in love with a human prince and sacrifices her mermaid tail to live with him on land. But the prince chooses another woman and the mermaid perishes and is transformed into sea foam.

" 'The Little Mermaid' is about longing and the sweetness of falling in love," said Niels Brunse, who will be adapting the fairy tale to script.

"It will be felt that there's both light and darkness in the story, because where light is strongest, shadows are deepest."

Andersen is known for his fairy-tale classics including "The Ugly Duckling," "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Red Shoes." He also wrote novels, poetry and other stories.

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