ABC will be getting into the live TV musical event specials game with their own interpretation of The Little Mermaid, and they have already assembled quite a cast. Reports confirm that Moana‘s Auli’i Cravalho is set to star as Ariel. Meanwhile, Queen Latifah will play the singing sea witch Ursula, with Shaggy as Sebastian the crab. More on the report here below.
The Wrap says this live television event will be a production that will feature intricate sets and costumes. ABC President Karey Burke reportedly added that the production will also have “puppetry — yes, puppetry.” Although it is not clear how these puppets will be used, it is likely that they will be the underwater sea animals. Which means some of the actors, some of whom will be named at a later date, will likely have to learn how to master the art of puppetry. (The live Little Mermaid show at Disney World uses black light puppets, with the actors wearing a black full-body leotard while physically controlling the puppets, so this might be the technique used in the new live musical.)
Much of the music that will be heard will be pulled from both the animated film and the Broadway musical, both of which had music that was originally composed by Alan Menken. This means Howard Ashman’s lyrics from the film will be included, as well as Glenn Slater’s contribution to the Broadway musical.
Something interesting to note is that ABC had scheduled production for a live television broadcast musical of this beloved animated musical in 2017. Additionally, Disney, the parent company of ABC, is moving forward with their own live-action big-screen adaptation of the animated musical, with Halle Bailey set to star as Ariel.
Cravalho as Ariel seems all but too perfect given her talents and her connection to Disney. She already is a Disney princess in one animated film, and now she gets to be another in this TV special event. Furthermore, she can sing. If you haven’t seen Moana, I suggest you do. Or maybe watch her performance of the song at the Academy Awards – the one where a flag hits her face, but she just carried on as if nothing happened.
As for Latifah, this wouldn’t be the first time that she has appeared as Ursula. Though it wasn’t a performing role, she was featured as the sea witch in Disney Dream Portraits by Annie Leibovitz.
This announcement comes after NBC’s broadcast of Peter Pan, The Sound Of Music, Hairspray, and The Wizard Of Oz. Fox recently broadcast their own live TV musical special of Grease. Of course, with Disney being the parent company of ABC, it only makes sense that the network mine the Mouse House archives and turn them all into live TV musical specials. Now it remains to be seen how these titles will be able to distinguish themselves from not only their animated counterparts, but the live-action film adaptations as well.
We will keep you posted on who else gets cast as soon as the news pops up.
[Source: The Wrap]