“The Little Mermaid” will come to ABC as a live musical.
“Moana” star Auli’i Cravalho will play the lead role. Queen Latifah will play the villainous Ursula and Shaggy will play the crab, Sebastian. More castings will be announced at a later date.
The special will feature music from the original animated film and the Tony Award-winning Broadway stage version, originally composed by Alan Menken. Howard Ashman’s iconic film lyrics will also be showcased, while lyricist for the Broadway adaptation, Glenn Slater, will also contribute. It is slated to air Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. ET.
“The Wonderful World of Disney presents The Little Mermaid Live!” is produced by Done+Dusted. Executive producers include Done+Dusted’s Hamish Hamilton — who will also direct — Katy Mullan, David Jammy, Raj Kapoor and Ian Stewart. Also executive producing is Richard Kraft, producer and director of the acclaimed Hollywood Bowl productions of “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
This will mark ABC’s first foray into the live musical genre. NBC pioneered the modern format with its popular “Sound of Music” special back in 2013, continuing with successes like “Hairspray,” “The Wiz,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” among others. Fox has also aired several popular live musicals, including “Grease” and “The Passion.” NBC was previously set to air a live staging of “Hair,” but pulled that special from its schedule back in February, with the network saying they are rethinking their approach to the genre.
The news comes as ABC parent company Disney is prepping a live-action film remake of “The Little Mermaid” with Halle Bailey set to play the lead role.