ABC has announced that the network’s first live stage show production will be an adaptation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid and will star Auli’i Cravalho, Shaggy and even Queen Latifah. Ever since NBC presented The Sound of Music Live with Carrie Underwood in 2013, live productions of well-known stage and screen musicals have had a resurgence on the small screen.
Some have fared better than others. Examples include NBC’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar Live was a hit while FOX’s A Christmas Story was a miss. ABC will take on the newest gamble this fall with The Little Mermaid Live but with a twist.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Disney’s animated hit and while production has yet to be started on Disney’s live adaptation with Halle Bailey, another version will make it to TV in November.
Instead of just presenting the original film as a TV special, ABC is busy creating a “never-before-seen hybrid” of the classic film and live musical performances featuring Auli’i Cravalho, the voice of Disney’s Moana. She will be playing Ariel alongside Shaggy who will play the cranky crustacean, Sebastian. It was also announced that Queen Latifah (who also appeared in NBC’s live production of The Wiz) will be playing the evil sea witch Ursula. Other cast members will be announced at a later date.
Directed by Hamish Hamilton, the next Wonderful World of Disney special is promised to include intricate sets and costumes and will not only feature the songs in the original movie but also a few others from the Broadway stage version of the story.
The Wonderful World of Disney presents The Little Mermaid Live! will air Tuesday, November 5 at 8/7c on ABC.