Aulii Cravalho

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Star-studded ‘Little Mermaid Live’ coming to ABC

The remake will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the original animated film.


Dominic-Madori Davis

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 6, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 7:12 am CDT

A live-action remake of Disney’s The Little Mermaid is coming to ABC on Nov. 5. It’ll commemorate the 30th anniversary of the original animated film.

Moana’s Auli’i Cravalho will play Ariel, while Queen Latifah has been cast as Ursula and singer Shaggy as Sebastian.

The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live! will be directed by Hamish Hamilton. He will also serve as an executive producer.

At the Television Criticism Association’s press panel recently, Hamilton said the television adaption will be an “interesting hybrid” of a live-action musical and the original 1989 animation.

The Little Mermaid Live! is a celebration. We’re celebrating this incredible animated feature, and we’re gonna do it on the Disney lot,” Hamilton said at the panel, via Deadline. “We’re going to do it live‑to‑air in front of a live audience in a room that we’ve created. So we’re going to invite anybody to come, both televisionally and real people, real fans, come to our Little Mermaid theater. In the middle of the room, we will have a giant projection surface, and on that projection surface, we will play the feature. When we get to one of Alan [Merken] and Howard [Ashman’s] wonderful songs, essentially we will transition beautifully and smoothly into a world of live performance.”

Also at the TCA tour was Cravalho, who spoke about her similarities to Ariel.

“I think there is just so much room to play with that while, of course, still paying homage to the original character. That’s me anyway,” Cravalho said. “And, of course, there’s so many beautiful set designs and so much of, really, a visual buffet that I am part of this, but there’s also just so much more that I know people will enjoy that I won’t have to worry too, too much about what I bring to the character because I bring myself, and I feel like that’s enough.”

The television adaption is set to combine the music from both the original animated film and the Broadway stage version. There will be no new songs recorded.

“This special tribute to the original animated classic and its timeless music will take viewers on a magical adventure under the sea as live musical performances by a star-studded cast will be interwoven into the broadcast of the original feature film,” ABC said in a press release.

This adaption of The Little Mermaid follows the announcement of the feature reboot, which caused controversy after it was announced African-American singer Halle Bailey will play Ariel.

So far, this rollout has been much better received on social media.


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*First Published: Aug 6, 2019, 10:20 am CDT