HCA NEWS The Little Mermaid extravaganza in Copenhagen harbour

The Copenhagen Harbour Festival presents the musical 'The Little Mermaid' in collaboration with the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation. It will feature as the greatest show in Danish entertainment history.

By ms - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 04 March 2004

As part of the grand celebration of the 2005 bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen, the Copenhagen Harbour Festival, Kulturhavn, presents an extravagant open-air performance of 'The Little Mermaid' in Copenhagen Harbour.

The musical will be staged in Copenhagen Harbour in July 2005 and will be the greatest stage show in Denmark ever. On a huge floating stage, a cast of 650 will bring Hans Christian Andersen's most famous and cherished tale to life and thus transform Copenhagen Harbour into an enchanted universe of mermaids, princes, mermen and witches.

'The Little Mermaid' musical will be a gift to the city, and in order to make it a part of Copenhagen life, the harbour festival extends an open invitation to everyone to attend auditions for all 650 parts, including singers, dancers and actors.

This will take place at Copenhagen Town Hall on the 199th birthday of Hans Christian Andersen, the 2 April 2004. The selected cast will undergo evening class training in drama, dance and singing. Citizens take to the stage 'The Little Mermaid' will be an amateur production with Copenhageners taking to the stage.

However, the artistic team behind the production are indeed professionals. The director Per Sohl is an expert in open-air staging. The dramatist Niels Brunse, the creator of a great many original Danish musical performances, such as 'Around the World in 80 Days' and 'Pelle the Conqueror', will write the script.

Composer Jesper Winge Leisner, who has written songs for recent Danish films, such as 'The One and Only', ?Open Hearts' and 'Okay', will write the music and songs. The many singers will be tutored by conductor Jens Krøyer, known from the popular TV entertainment show 'Hit med Sangen', while set designer Niels Secher and choreographer Birgitte Næss-Schmidt will create the unconventional and very sensual and graphic scenery.

Managing the production is Nanna Sørensen, who has over the past two years turned the Copenhagen Harbour Festival into the nation's greatest harbour festival. 'The Little Mermaid' is a world-famous fairytale about a mermaid who abandons her life at sea to follow her beloved prince on land. The performance is true to Hans Christian Andersen's original fairytale, and no additional characters or happy endings will be introduced, as was the case with the Walt Disney version.

The passion of love "The Little Mermaid is about the passion and craving of love, which is so strong that it overcomes all anxiety and selfishness. The bright and dark aspects of the story must be apparent.

"For where light is strong, shadows are deep," says playwright Niels Brunse. It is no coincidence that the Copenhagen Harbour festival has chosen The Little Mermaid, who sacrificed her fish tale and turned into foaming surf when her prince chose another woman as his queen.

As a child, Hans Christian Andersen developed a fairytale universe while walking the banks of the Odense River. At the age of 14 he travelled to Copenhagen where he spent most of his adult life. He lived several years by Nyhavn Canal, which at the time was a busy merchant's harbour with harbour bars and sailors of the seven seas.

It seems therefore an obvious choice to stage the musical in Copenhagen Harbour. The entire process from the first audition to the training of the cast and the production of the musical itself will be followed by a film crew set to capture backstage activity. The web-broadcast will be made available on 'The Little Mermaid' web site.

The spectacular staging of 'The Little Mermaid' musical is sponsored by the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation.' 

Register for the audition!