The Little Mermaid is the latest musical to get the live TV treatment, and so far the production sounds like it's going to be a hybrid of all our favorite things. ABC has announced its plan to stage The Little Mermaid Live! in celebration of the Disney film's upcoming 30th anniversary. Director and executive producer Hamish Hamilton has taken on the task of bringing this underwater world to the stage and screen in a new yet familiar way.
Here's everything we know so far about The Little Mermaid Live!
The live performance will air in November. The Little Mermaid Live! will air Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 8/7c on ABC, just over a week before the film celebrates its 30th anniversary.
The show will be a hybrid of the movie and live performances. Rather than completely re-create The Little Mermaid in a live format, the production will combine live performances with the animated feature we all know and love. The animated movie will cut to live musical performances whenever the story breaks out into song.
"We're not asking these guys to re-voice the original feature," Hamilton clarified to reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. "The original feature will exist exactly as it always has and we all love. And when we come to a song, we will transition from the original to the new."
The cast is stacked. Moana's Auli'i Cravalho has been cast to play Ariel, alongside Queen Latifah as Ursula, Shaggy as Sebastian the crab (we can't wait to hear his rendition of "Under the Sea"), John Stamos as Chef Louis (the same role he played at the Hollywood Bowl's The Little Mermaid concert earlier this year), and Graham Phillips as Prince Eric. Glee's Amber Riley will act as the emcee of the event and will present the Daughters of Triton with a special performance for King Triton and his subjects.
The first teaser has been released. A promo for the production, released Oct. 6, shows the cast in character for the first time — including Cravalho with Ariel's trademark red locks and Stamos hamming it up in a chef's hat.
The show will incorporate a few songs from the Broadway musical. Not every character in The Little Mermaid has their own musical performance, so The Little Mermaid Live! will be incorporating two or three songs from the Broadway musical to give those characters their time to shine. There's no word yet on which songs from the musical will make it in.
There are no understudies. Despite the Rent Live! fiasco — when one of the show's leads injured himself during the dress rehearsal the day before the show — The Little Mermaid Live! will not have any understudies. Hamilton did say, however, that there is "a robust plan to kind of combat all of those situations."
The Little Mermaid Live! will air Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 8/7c on ABC.