The next live musical set to make a splash on ABC is The Little Mermaid. Hot off the heels of the announcement of a newly diverse lead for the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, ABC is making an inspired casting choice for Ariel in this version, which was postponed from its original air date in October 2017. Moana star Auli’i Cravalho will lead the live musical event special, while Queen Latifah will play Ursula, and Grammy-winning musician Shaggy will play Sebastian. So now we finally know, how far she’ll go.
Just in time for the 30th anniversary of the Little Mermaid, ABC will hold a Little Mermaid live musical event special in front of a studio audience on November 5, 2019. Cravalho will lead the cast as Ariel, the curious mermaid who yearns to walk on land, while Queen Latifah will play the villain Ursula, and Shaggy takes on the role of the crab Sebastian. Additional cast will be announced at a later date.
According to The Wrap, “the production will feature intricate sets and costumes,” plus “puppetry — yes, puppetry,” said ABC president Karey Burke. The puppets will likely be for the animal characters, including Ariel’s sidekick fish Flounder, the clumsy seagull Scuttle, and of course, Sebastian. Yes, Shaggy will probably be voicing a puppet crab.
The Little Mermaid live musical will be set to music from both the animated film and the Broadway stage version, all composed by Disney Legend Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman and Broadway lyricist Glenn Slater. Hamish Hamilton will direct and executive produce the live musical, which follows on the heels (or the fins) of other wildly successful live musical events, like NBC’s award-winning Jesus Christ Superstar and Fox’s Grease. The full title of the TV special is The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live!, and it will be produced by Hamilton’s Done+Dusted, with other executive producers including Katy Mullan, David Jammy, Raj Kapoor and Ian Stewart. Also executive producing is Richard Kraft, producer and director of the Hollywood Bowl productions of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
This won’t be the first time that ABC has attempted to bring The Little Mermaid to the surface, originally scheduling the live musical for October 2017, but postponing it before it had announced a cast. Now with the live-action film in the works with Halle Bailey set to star, and the immensely talented Cravalho (whose Disney princess in Moana bears more than a few resemblances to Ariel) in the lead as a Polynesian twist on the titular mermaid, The Little Mermaid is sure to make waves.
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