Interview with a Mermaid

The little mermaid herself, Jodi Benson
Photo: Disney


Believe it or not, but this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Disney animated hit, The Little Mermaid. On October 1st, Disney will release a special “Diamond Edition” DVD and Blu-Ray sets. Because of this special occasion, I was given the chance to interview the voice of that mermaid, Jodi Benson, who will always be connected to Ariel.

Benson grew up in a small town but always had dreams of making it on Broadway, much like Ariel wanting to leave water for land. “[I grew up] having a dream and a desire to pursue Broadway and singing, dancing and acting, [but] not really having any of those outlets around me. I’m not exactly sure where those desires came from, but it was definitely something I was reaching way up outside of the box for. I could definitely relate to Ariel in that way.”

By the time Benson went to college, she “grew out” of those ideas and began pursuing a degree in pre-law, but in the end, her heart won out and she moved to New York. She began to do ensemble roles with some success, but her fate changed the day she met Howard Ashman. He was working on Broadway musical called, Smile and cast Jodi for the lead. Unfortunately, that show didn’t do so well (only 48 performances before it closed), but his next project went a little better. He was teamed up with Alan Menken to write the music for The Little Mermaid and Ashman extended auditions to the Smile cast. Benson won the role of Ariel and the rest is history. Read more>

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