The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live!, or simply The Little Mermaid Live! is an upcoming musical television special created for ABC, based on the 1989 film The Little Mermaid. It is produced by Done and Dusted and directed by Hamish Hamilton, who is also executive producing alongside Katy Mullan, David Jammy, Raj Kapoor, Ian Stewart, and Richard Kraft, with Amber Riley hosting the special.
Auliʻi Cravalho stars as Princess Ariel, alongside Queen Latifah, Shaggy, John Stamos, and Graham Phillips. The hybrid format special will be performed in front of a live audience on the Disney lot, where the film will be projected on a giant projection surface and interwoven with live musical performances of songs from the film and the Broadway stage version. The Little Mermaid Live! is set to air on ABC on November 5, 2019, as part of The Wonderful World of Disney brand.
Main article: List of The Little Mermaid characters
Auliʻi Cravalho as Ariel, the sixteen-year old mermaid princess of Atlantica who is obsessed with humans.
Graham Phillips as Prince Eric, a traveling prince who was saved by Ariel, only remembering her voice.
Queen Latifah as Ursula, a sea witch who takes Ariel's voice and is determined to replace Ariel's father, King Triton, as ruler of Atlantica
Shaggy as Sebastian, a Jamaican crab who is King Triton's royal advisor and court composer.
John Stamos as Chef Louis, Eric's chef who loves fish food and tries to cook Sebastian. Stamos reprises his role from the live concert event at the Hollywood Bowl.
In May 2017, ABC announced plans to broadcast a live adaptation of the 1989 musical film The Little Mermaid for the 2017–18 season titled The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live. The title is a nod to ABC's long-running The Wonderful World of Disney brand used over the years for various Disney specials. The two-hour special, produced by Done and Dusted and set to air on October 3, 2017, would intertwine the film with live musical performances via cutting-edge technology. It would be similar to the format of the live concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, which combined a screening of the film with live accompaniment by guest musicians and celebrities. The special aimed to appeal to the recent trend of live made-for-television productions of Broadway musicals on network television, such as those of NBC. In August 2017, it was announced that the special had been postponed due to budget issues.
In August 2019, ABC announced that the project had been revived to mark the 30th anniversary of the film's original release, and would air on November 5, 2019. The special will be a mix of live action, animation and puppetry, and feature performances of songs from the film and its Broadway stage version. It will be produced by Done and Dusted and directed by Hamish Hamilton, who is also executive producing alongside Katy Mullan, David Jammy, Raj Kapoor, Ian Stewart, and Richard Kraft.
In August 2019, Auliʻi Cravalho was cast as Princess Ariel, along with Queen Latifah as Ursula and Shaggy as Sebastian. The following month, John Stamos was announced as reprising his role of Chef Louis from the Hollywood Bowl production and Graham Phillips joining the cast as Prince Eric. In October, Amber Riley was announced as the host of the special.
At the Television Critics Association, Hamilton explained that the special will be half-live musical and half-original animated feature–an "interesting hybrid". He elaborated that a live audience will be invited to a Little Mermaid "dive-in theater" built on the Disney lot in Burbank, California, where the film will be projected on a giant projection surface and "when we get to one of [the] songs, essentially we will transition beautifully and smoothly into a world of live performance." In October 2019, Nick Florez and RJ Durell joined as choreographers.
The Little Mermaid Live! is set to air in the United States on ABC on November 5, 2019. In August 2019, ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke stated that in addition to marking the film's anniversary, the special will also be used as a pre-launch promotional push for the new streaming service Disney+, which will launch the following week. Burke said, "We wanted to launch it in November, in time to coincide with the launch of Disney Plus. It felt like a great promotional platform to speak to that."
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