‘The Little Mermaid’ Live Musical Confirmed on ABC with ‘Moana’ Star Auli’i Cravalho

AULI'I CRAVALHO

ABC is pushing forward with the live musical production of “The Little Mermaid” on television. The network has picked “Moana” voice actress Auli’i Cravalho to star as Ariel and she will be joined by Queen Latifa as the sea witch Ursula and Shaggy as Ariel’s best friend the red lobster Sebastian.

The live musical, officially titled “The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live!” is set for a Nov. 5 airing to coincide with 30th anniversary of the feature film, per Deadline. ABC first announced the plans in May 2017 but pulled the plug on it a few months later due to budgetary reasons.

“The Little Mermaid” will feature elements from the Tony-winning musical version as well as the feature film version, which ran in theaters in the late 1980s. The television event will be a two-hour spectacle that will feature intricate costumes and sets. Casting is still ongoing as rehearsals begin in the next few weeks.

Hamilton Hamish will direct the ABC live event, per CNN. Glenn Slater from the Broadway production will help with “The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live!” alongside Richard Kraft, who directed the Hollywood Bowl production of the same fairy tale.

“The Little Mermaid” live on television comes as Disney, the network’s parent company, is also developing a live-action feature of the 1989 version for the big screen. Casting for this movie, so far, has not yet been completed but Halle Bailey, Awkwafina, and Jacob Tremblay have been signed on as Ariel, as Scuttle the seagull, and Flounder the young fish respectively.

Melissa McCarthy and One Direction member Harry Styles are rumored to be eyed to play the roles of Ursula and Prince Eric on the big screen. The film is set to start production in early 2020 and will likely hit theaters in late 2021.