Wonderful World of Disney brings The Little Mermaid Live on ABC

 A unique tribute to the animated classic The Little Mermaid will be presented by “The Wonderful World of Disney” on ABC, Tuesday, November 5.

Auli’i Cravalho stars as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid Live!” (photo credit ABC/Andrew Eccles)

 The Little Mermaid Live will showcase the timeless music of Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman for the 30th anniversary of one of the most beloved Disney films of all time.  The ABC production 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 film.

Auli’i Carvalho, (of Disney’s Moana fame) was born and raised in Hawaii surrounded by water and is very comfortable in the role of Ariel. She said, “It’s almost every little girl’s dream to be the Little Mermaid. I think I share her curiosity, wondering what’s just beyond my reach. I share the joy that Ariel has, and I had the absolute honor of meeting Jodi Benson (the voice of Ariel in the 1989 animated movie) who just brought this wonderful character to life, and I will pay homage to the original character. I won’t have to worry too much about what I bring to the character because I bring myself, and I feel like that’s enough.”

 Auli’i was on hand for the ABC interview panel at the Television Critics Association’s Summer 2019 press tour to talk about being part of the beloved musical. Also on the panel were composer Alan Menken, executive producers Hamish Hamilton (who directs) and Ian Stewart, plus the Grammy winning Reggae musician Shaggy, who plays the Caribbean crab Sebastian. Also part of the talented cast are Queen Latifah (as Ursula), Graham Phillips (Prince Eric), John Stamos (Chef Louis), and Amber Riley (Glee) as the show’s emcee.

Queen Latifah in “The Little Mermaid Live!” (photo credit ABC/Andrew Eccles)

 Hamilton called The Little Mermaid Live! an immersive experience and explained how the interesting hybrid production will be presented. He said, “We’re going to do it on the Disney lot in front of a live audience. We’ve invited a few hundred real fans to come to our Little Mermaid theater. We will have a giant projection surface to play the feature. When we get to one of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s wonderful songs, essentially we will transition beautifully and smoothly into a world of live performance.”

 The 12-song spectacle will include aerialists, choreography, and puppets along with the live performers. Part of the magic will be a variety of actual sets that bring the underwater scenes to life with the same vibrancy that appeared in the original movie. Ariel’s cave with all of her friends, Ursula among her “poor unfortunate souls,” and the excitement of Prince Eric’s ship will be part of the live action, recreating some truly iconic shots. Reinforcing the original feature will be amazing visuals all the way through the live show up to “they lived happily ever after.”

 It will be incredible to see Ariel, Sebastian, Prince Eric, Ursula, and the other characters pop out of the movie and come to life. Little Mermaid Live is “part animated film, part live spectacle, and 100% Disney magic,” said composer Alan Menken.

 The music has resonated since the fantasy movie debuted 30 years ago, appealing to kids and adults alike. Menken said, “I try to always let my music come from characters and stories, and that speaks to people. I’d like to think that the craft of what we create bring that to life in a memorable way. I always try to have interesting inspiration for songs. In the case of “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” or “Aladdin,” it’s the collaboration with Howard Ashman, an incredible genius. It was a privilege in my life to work with him. The work we created together has this life that has amazed me. I just sit back and go, ‘wow.’”

 For a unique experience tune in The Little Mermaid Live! Tuesday, November 5 on ABC.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.