A Little Princess

A new musical

Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Music by Richard Link
Book and Lyrics by Tegan McLane
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This musical version of the beloved novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett was developed as Theater as Digital Activity, with input from Children around the world.

A Little Princess is the story of Sara Crewe, a young girl whose father dies while she is at a London boarding school, leaving her an orphan. Unable to pay her tuition and with nowhere to go, Sara is made to work as a servant at the school where she was once a privileged student. She becomes great friends with another servant girl and uses her imagination to transform her dreary attic room into a magical place. Sara and her friend Becky rescue a pet monkey, which they later learn belongs to a mysterious new neighbor. Little do they know, the mysterious neighbor is the business partner of Sara’s deceased father and he is searching for Sara. Throughout her hardships, she remains positive and generous, a true princess.


A Little Princess was performed in May 2002 at Children’s Musical Theater San Jose. A short suite of songs was recorded in August 2003.

This synopsis lists all the songs in the show. Those that were recorded as part of the suite have links to the page lyrics icon with the music and lyrics.

Act 1

Bombay, India, 1882. SARA is pouring tea for an assortment of dolls and a pet monkey. Her father, CAPTAIN CREWE, is a British army officer. He is interrupted by another officer; the men confer and several Indian servants whisk away the tea party and bring on traveling cases. We learn that Sara is being Listen to "Banished."Banished.

CAPTAIN CREWE and SARA arrive in London at Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies. SARA is dressed in an expensive coat, with matching hat and muff. She expresses reservations, then steeles herself and marches in. While waiting to meet MISS MINCHIN, SARA and CAPTAIN CREWE observe the rather severe sitting room and with its Medals and Ribbons Galore.

As their meeting finishes, CAPTAIN CREWE instructs MISS MINCHIN that Sara should have whatever she desires; “she never wants for anything it isn’t safe to give her.” They head up to Sara’s room, with Sara’s maid MARIETTE and servants carrying trunks and parcels. Some students spy on the procession. Once there, MISS AMELIA and MARIETTE bustle about unpacking SARA’s things, shaking out her lovely dresses and frilly petticoats as they take them from the trunks as SARA and CAPTAIN CREWE say good-bye Listen to "Committed to my Heart."(Committed to My Heart).

They kiss farewell. After he goes, SARA receives a large box with a beautiful new doll, who comes to life when SARA isn’t in the room.

The next morning, while waiting for class to begin, other girls in the school start gossiping about Listen to "The New Girl."The New Girl.

SARA endures their teasing with grace and proves herself to her classmates, though some remain snootish. She invites ERMENGARDE to her room to play where they admire her new doll. They hear a child wailing, and SARA goes to help. Neither MISS AMELIA nor MISS MINCHIN can calm LOTTIE, but SARA can. SARA explains that she, too, doesn’t have a mother, that her mother went to heaven, and that Listen to "Heaven Isn't Far Away."Heaven Isn’t Far Away.
After supper, SARA makes good on her promise to tell LOTTIE a story. As SARA sings Listen to "Magical Story."Magical Story, BECKY, a scullery maid, enters to stoke the fire. She is enraptured with the story and sits listening at the hearth. Between each verse, additional SCHOOLGIRLS in their nightgowns crowd onto the bed, window seat, and floor, to hear the story. By the end of the song all of the girls are present. LAVINIA is upset that BECKY was listening, but SARA defends her, saying that stories are for everyone.
MR. FRIBBLE’s dance class, MISS MINCHEN is entertaining parents of a prospective new student, She points to SARA as an example of how her school can create a Prize Student as they all sing SARA’s accomplishments.


The mail arrives, and MISS MINCHIN takes the letters and package to distribute, including a letter for SARA from South Africa. As she reads, a light comes up on CAPTAIN CREWE in the mining camp, writing a letter. CAPTAIN CREWE speaks the contents of the letter and his words come alive for SARA as he sings about his Listen to "Diamond Mine."Diamond Mine.

Back in her room, SARA engages BECKY in conversation, and the two sing Magical Story, reprise until BECKY is yelled for by MISS MINCHEN.

The sitting room is lavishley decorated for SARA’s 12th birthday party. MISS MINCHEN heaps praise upon SARA, then leaves to meet an unexpected visitor, Captain Crewe’s solicitor.

SARA turns to a very large box on wheels, stating that she’s “getting very old” and will “never have another doll given to me.” When she unties the bow, it falls open to reveal THE LAST DOLL, a beautiful teenage size mannequin. The SCHOOLGIRLS gasp. LAVINIA asks SARA how well she could pretend if she were a beggar child, SARA responds in song (Last Doll).

At the height of the merriment, we hear an angry scream and MISS MINCHIN returns, marching over to SARA and yanking the LAST DOLL away. She states that Captain Crewe died a pauper in South Africa, leaving SARA on her hands along with unpaid bills for the party and gifts. Just short of turning SARA out onto the street, MISS MINCHIN declares that SARA will become a servant at the school. SARA stands solemnly as her fancy dress is taken off and replaced by a servant’s plain frock, reassuring herself that Listen to "Heaven Isn't Far Away" reprise.Heaven Isn’t Far Away while, all around her, the stage is stripped bare.

Act 2

Lights come up on SARA in a sparsely furnished attic, wearing her ill-fitting black dress. She’s sitting on the bed with her doll EMILY who has a ratty blanket wrapped around her shoulders. SARA looks completely lost. BECKY enters and curtsies low, and sings that SARA will Listen to "Always be a Princess."Always Be a Princess to her.
The SCHOOLGIRLS are seated in the classroom for a geography lesson. All heads turn as SARA, in her shabby dress, enters the classroom. LAVINIA is at the front of the classroom, the new prize student.
The older girls stand in a group watching SARA, no longer a student, take care of the young girls. The nasty girls, led by LAVINIA, take glee in Listen to "That Crewe Girl."That Crewe Girl’s new misfortune, while ERMENGARDE defends SARA.
The attic is dark, with no fire in the grate. There is only one candle. EMILY, the doll, is seated on the bed. SARA is on her hands and knees watching a rat hole, trying to coax the rat out with a crumb of bread.
The door opens and LOTTIE peers in, dressed in a nightgown and carrying a candle. She sees the rat and screams. SARA calms her down, and explains that her room isn’t that bad, in fact it has A Splendid View. The song makes LOTTIE sleepy and she returns to her room.

Some days later, out on the street, a LARGE FAMILY is caroling outside the home of CARRISFORD. RAM DASS has wheeled CARRISFORD, bundled in his wheelchair, onto the porch. CARRISFORD gives each of the children a very generous 6 pence, saying that it will make him feel better knowing that he made some children smile this holiday season. “I only wish we could have found Crewe’s daughter by Christmas…” The adults discuss the lengths to which CARRISFORD has gone looking for SARA: the many cities, schools, and dead ends. He further laments that CAPTAIN CREWE died thinking CARRISFORD had ruined him. Meanwhile, one of the children gives SARA his 6 pence—she resists and eventually accepts his charity. The children comment that despite SARA’s appearance, she didn’t behave like a beggar. They leave curious about Listen to "The Little Girl Who's Not a Beggar."The Little Girl Who’s Not a Beggar.

SARA returns to the attic, tired and hungry from a long day of errands. She finds ERMENGARDE waiting in her nightdress, who’s been crying because SARA isn’t her friend anymore. SARA explains they’ll always be friends, but that SARA has to act differently around MISS MINCHIN and the other girls. Happy now, hey’re joined by BECKY, and embark on a wonderful game of pretend and storytelling that unfortunately wakes the rest of the school. LAVINIA and JESSIE tattle to MISS MINCHIN and the adults lament What Will the Neighbors Think?

SARA, again on errands, passes MR. CARRISFORD and RAMM DASS. When asked about his friend, RAMM DASS says she is hungry and cold and lonely in her attic, “treated like a pariah by all members of the household, especially the headmistress.” They come up with a plan to replace her thin blankets with fleecy ones, leave food in her attic, and do it all while she’s sleeping.

Meanwhile, SARA finds 4 pence on the street, and asks around to see who lost the money. When no one claims it, she buys buns at the bakery. The baker, MRS. BROWN, watches closely as SARA gives all but one of her buns to another hungry child just outside the bakery. Of all the people on the street, sings MRS. BROWN, most are forgettable until you meet Someone like Her.

SARA returns to her room exhausted and falls into a deep sleep. RAMM DASS creeps through the window, and EMILY, the doll, awakes. STORY CHARACTERS (RAJAH, ANGELS, PRINCESS BY THE SEA, MER-PRINCE, MERMAIDS) emerge, and while RAMM DASS sings Jadoo, they transform SARA’s room. SARA awakes, thinking she’s still dreaming, then calls BECKY who is equally stunned by the transformation. MISS MINCHIN throws open the door, and upon seeing the room, assumes it’s all been stolen. She declares that SARA will leave the house in disgrace the next morning, after returning the pillows and blankets to MR. CARRISFORD, the next-door neighbor.

The next morning, RAMM DASS opens the door to find SARA, with the monkey and her belongings in two parcels on the doorstep. CARRISFORD wants to meet SARA, and starts asking her questions. They gasp when she says her dead father was Captain Ralph Crewe. They explain that CARRISFORD was her father’s friend, and that he didn’t really loose all the money. “He only thought he had lost it, and because he loved your father so, he was out of his mind, for a time, with grief. He ran into the jungle and almost died of brain fever.”

They further explain that he’s been searching for Sara for a long time, and she has a large fortune. SARA runs to hug CARRISFORD in his wheelchair. They look into each other’s eyes with deep affection, as the spirit of CAPTAIN CREWE appears over, and they all sing a reprise of Listen to "Committed to my Heart" reprise.Committed to my Heart.
MISS MINCHIN appears, attempting to apoligize for SARA, but is put in her place by CARRISFORD, who hires BECKY to be SARA’s maid.
We transition to SARA’s first party in her new home, as everyone sings about CARRISFORD’s challenge finding SARA, who stayed a true princess with a Listen to "Heart of Gold."Heart of Gold throught her ordeal.

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