ABC joins the live musical broadcast circuit this fall with a concert presentation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Moana and Rise star Auli’i Cravalho will star as Ariel, with Grammy and Emmy winner Queen Latifah (NBC's The Wiz Live!) as Ursula and Grammy winner Shaggy as Sebastian. The concert will air on the network November 5.
The broadcast will weave live performances from a specially designed concert stage with clips from the original movie. Cast members will be in costume for the performance, which will feature songs from both the film and the 2008 Broadway adaptation.
The network had originally announced the Wonderful World of Disney project in 2017, with a projected air date of October 3 that year. The special was reportedly scrapped and postponed due to budget constraints.
Richard Kraft will serve as executive producer, having previously helmed a similarly devised 2016 Hollywood Bowl concert featuring the likes of Sara Bareilles, Rebel Wilson, Tituss Burgess, and Darren Criss. Earlier this year, Lea Michele and Harvey Fierstein headlined a similar event.
The Little Mermaid marks the only live TV musical actively in development following a flurry of offerings that included Fox's Rent and Grease and NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar and Hairspray. The latter network had also been working on a live presentation of Hair and Bye Bye Birdie, both of which have been dropped.
Meanwhile, the familiar aquatic tale is also set to hit the big screen with a live-action film adaptation, with Lin-Manuel Miranda collaborating with the 1989 movie's Alan Menken on new songs. (Menken won two Oscars for his work on the animated feature, including one with the late Howard Ashman for "Under the Sea.") Halle Bailey of Chloe x Halle will star as Ariel.