‘The Little Mermaid Live!’

Melanie Careri

About 30 years ago, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” was released in theaters and is still regarded as  a massive success, reaching millions of viewers. 

On Sunday Oct. 6, ABC tweeted out the teaser for “The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live!”, which is the new live-action version of “The Little Mermaid” to celebrate its 30 year anniversary. The program airs on ABC, the ABC app and ABC.com on Nov. 5.

Even though the actors for King Triton and Flounder haven’t been announced yet, the rest of the cast is official. Current “Rise” star, Auli’i Cravalho, who also voiced the popular Disney character, Moana, will be starring as Ariel. Other Hollywood stars were cast as well, such as Queen Latifah, who will be playing the Ursula, along with Shaggy as Sebastian, John Stamos as Chef Louis and Graham Phillips as Prince Eric. Queen Latifah even posted on Instagram a picture of herself as Ursula holding a golden shell with a caption stating, “‘Fortunately I know a little magic.’ Excited to be a part of ‘The Wonderful World of Disney Presents the Little Mermaid Live!’”According to Variety and Playbill, Disney also announced that they will have former “Glee” fan favorite and current “Little Shop of Horrors” star, Amber Riley, emcee for the production.

Overall, the casting alone seems to already be making fans excited about the program. On social media there has been a lot of positive feedback and excitement. According to TeenVogue, one fan tweeted, “I am so looking forward to Queen Latifah as Ursula.” Another fan also tweeted having Auli’i Cravalho casted as Ariel is “genuine excellence.”

One of the more important elements of “The Little Mermaid” is not only its cast, but also its music. The live-action version will not only have songs from the movie, but, according to CNN Entertainment, “The live musical event will feature music from the original animated film and the Tony Award-nominated Broadway stage version, originally composed by eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken.” 

This version of “The Little Mermaid” is unlike any other previous version. According to CNN Entertainment, ABC describes the live-action version as a, “never-before-seen hybrid format that will take viewers on a magical adventure under the sea as live musical performances by a star-studded cast are interwoven into the broadcast of the original feature film.” TeenVogue also states that it will, “…feature elements of the movie alongside live-action singing, which should make for a completely enchanting under-the-sea experience.” 

“The Little Mermaid Live!” is not the only remake of “The Little Mermaid.” This version is only the introduction to the new live-film version, featuring Halle Bailey as Ariel, with production already starting in early 2020. The live-action version can give viewers a taste of Disney’s new image of Ariel and the rest of the characters.