'Little Mermaid' Live Musical Starring Auli’I Cravalho As Ariel Coming To ABC

Queen Latifah and Shaggy are on board as Ursula and Sebastian for the network's first live-action TV musical.
Auli'i Cravalho arrives at the premiere of "Ralph Breaks The Internet."
Auli'i Cravalho arrives at the premiere of "Ralph Breaks The Internet."
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images

A new live-action version of “The Little Mermaid” is about to be part of our world.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the classic Disney film, a live musical event starring “Moana” actress Auli’I Cravalho as Ariel is set at ABC, the network’s president Karey Burke announced Monday during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour.

The hybrid television special titled “The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live!” will debut on the network Nov. 5 and feature a “seamless interweaving” of musical performances, puppetry and the original animated film for a reinterpretation of the beloved tale.

Oscar-nominee Queen Latifah is also set to star as the tentacled sea witch Ursula, while musician Shaggy will play the role of Ariel’s crustacean sidekick Sebastian.

The production will include “beautifully intricate sets and costumes,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The live-action version will also blend eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken’s music from the animated film with songs from the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical written by lyricist Glenn Slater, who will work on the new ABC special.

The network originally announced it would follow in the footsteps of NBC and Fox and enter the live TV musical game with “The Little Mermaid” back in May 2017. The project, however, was indefinitely delayed for months in order to give the special “all the attention it deserves,” an ABC spokesperson said at the time.

The announcement arrives after Disney unveiled its plans to take the singing mermaid onto the big screen with a live-action film adaptation from the mind of director Rob Marshall starring Halle Bailey, Melissa McCarthy and Awkwafina.

But the network is “not really worried” about one project overshadowing the other.

“The timing is so different,” Burke said at Monday’s TCA panel, according to The Los Angeles Times. “Ours premieres in the fall. The movie will hit theaters long after that.”

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