Over the years, countless songs have been scrapped from Disney films, television shows, stage musicals, etc. Many factors have caused this occur (story pacing issues, catering to specific performer strengths, etc.). One Disney character who has had a particularly large number of cut/deleted songs written for her is the villainous sea witch, Ursula, from Disney’s The Little Mermaid (both the film and stage adaptation). Here is a list of her sinister songs that didn’t quite stand the test of time.
P.S. Need help finding musical theatre songs to sing? Check out my professional repertoire guides here.
1. “Silence is Golden”
Disney Dream Team Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman originally wrote this character song for Ursula to sing in the 1989 film. It was ultimately replaced by the now famous “Poor Unfortunate Souls”. The former song was never fully orchestrated or recorded properly, but a demo performed by the songwriters themselves did pop up on an album titled The Music Behind the Magic. A few years back, Geekiarchy did a really neat cover of this ‘lost’ song as well:
2. “Wasting Away”
My personal favorite of the ‘lost’ Ursula songs. This one was originally written for the stage musical adaptation of The Little Mermaid. “Wasting Away” is a fabulous character number by Menken and Glenn Slater. A workshop demo was recorded featuring the amazing Emily Skinner as Ursula (also listen to her fantastic live take on “Poor Unfortunate Souls”). Ultimately, this song was replaced with more of a straight-out cabaret tune to fit Sherie Rene Scott’s strengths better on Broadway (“I Want the Good Times Back”). Interestingly, that song was eventually cut as well (more on that below).
3. “All Good Things Must End”
Yep, it’s another Ursula song cut from The Little Mermaid stage musical early in the workshop process. I’ve always found this one a little more ‘generic’ sounding, so I can understand why it was cut. The song would have been a gloat-heavy, late-show number for Ursula. Here’s the demo featuring the amazing Emily Skinner once again.
4. “I Want the Good Times Back”
If you haven’t kept up with The Little Mermaid musical since its somewhat abbreviated run on Broadway a decade ago, you might not be aware that many changes to the show have occurred in productions around the world since then. Some of the biggest, long-lasting changes were first introduced in a 2012 Dutch production in The Netherlands (of all places). There, Ursula’s big cabaret-style number from Broadway, “I Want the Good Times Back”, was replaced by a new song, “Daddy’s Little Angel”. I personally enjoyed the former as a song, but it never screamed Ursula the Sea Witch to me. As mentioned above, it was mostly included to highlight Sherie Rene Scott’s individual strengths as an actress.
5. “Daddy’s Little Angel”
This one is cheating a bit since “Daddy’s Little Angel” is technically still in the score of the current stage version of The Little Mermaid musical. But for how long? As we’ve seen, Ursula songs don’t tend to last long (with the exception of the now iconic “Poor Unfortunate Souls”). This newish song by Menken and Slater is decent, but I don’t find it particularly memorable. It is a bit more character-specific than “I Want the Good Times Back”, but that sadly comes at the expense of being a less engaging song overall, in my opinion. P.S. here’s a clip with a bit of Emily Skinner singing this.
BONUS: “Gonna Get My Wish”
This one technically isn’t an Ursula song, but it is notable for featuring original Ursula voice actress Pat Carroll on the official recording. The song itself was written for Ursula’s sister, Morgana, to sing in the animated film, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea. However, it was ultimately cut from the final product (shocker, right?).
P.S. Looking for more deleted/cut Disney song gems? Check out my new Disney Repertoire Guide here.