It looks like Disney is doubling down on its live-action adaptations of their 1989 animated movie The Little Mermaid. The studio already has a live-action feature-length film remake in the works with Black-ish star Halle Bailey set to play the titular sea creature who is granted the ability to live as a human by a nefarious sea witch in order to be with a man she’s fallen in love with.
Now, according to Variety, ABC will also put together a Little Mermaid live TV musical. A handful of casting announcements were made to help build up some excitement among prospective viewers. Moana star Auli’i Cravalho will play Ariel, the titular mermaid. Additionally, Queen Latifah will play Ursula, the sea witch who gives Ariel her legs and time to walk on land so she can woo Prince Eric. Finally, in a seriously surprising bit of casting news, Shaggy (of “It Wasn’t Me” fame) will play Sebastian, Ariel’s friend who happens to be a crab. In the movie, Sebastian has the honor of singing “Kiss the Girl” and I can only imagine how epic that song will sound as sung by Shaggy.
Variety also reports the Little Mermaid live TV musical will feature songs from both the animated film and the Broadway musical, all originally composed by Alan Menken. Additionally, Howard Ashman‘s dialogue from the film will be featured and Glenn Slater, the lyricist for the Broadway show, will contribute. This live TV musical will be directed by Hamish Hamilton and produced by Katy Mullan, David Jammy, Raj Kapoor, and Ian Stewart.
This may be ABC’s first time scheduling a live TV musical for its viewers but it’s just the latest network to do so. Previous live TV musical efforts date back to the Carrie Underwood-led live TV performance of The Sound of Music, with subsequent live TV musicals including Grease, Hairspray, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Rent.
ABC’s The Little Mermaid live TV musical will air on November 5 at 8/7c. It’s worth noting the musical’s air date happens just one week before the launch of the Disney+ streaming service, so expect plenty of promotion during the broadcast.