Life Is the Bubbles! A Live Special of ‘The Little Mermaid’ Is Coming to ABC

The Little Mermaid celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. What better way to enjoy songs like “Part of Your World” and “Under the Sea” than with a live production of the movie? Later this year, ABC will premiere a live production of the movie-musical. Who will play Ariel? Will the live production feature the original Broadway cast? Learn more about The Little Mermaid Live! here.

The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid | Photo by Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

‘The Little Mermaid’ is coming to ABC as a live production

It’s time to go under the sea with Ariel, Flounder, and the rest of her friends. In addition to Walt Disney Studio’s upcoming live-action movie, ABC will create a live version of the movie, available on their television network later this year.

Queen Latifah will portray the sea witch, Ursula, in this adaptation. Reggae artist, Shaggy, will portray Ariel’s crab friend, Sebastian. The lead role of Ariel will be portrayed by Moana’s Auli’i Cravalho. The entire cast list has yet to be announced. However, ABC states their live show will feature aspects of the Broadway production as well as the original movie.

According to a press release, the production features “beautifully intricate sets and costumes, with music from the original animated film and the Tony Award-winning Broadway stage version.”

The Little Mermaid Live
The cast and producers of “The Wonderful World of Disney presents The Little Mermaid Live!” | Image Group LA/ABC via Getty Images

Disney is making a live-action adaptation of ‘The Little Mermaid’

The news of this live production comes only a few weeks after Disney’s announcement of The Little Mermaid’s live-action film adaptation. The re-imagined film, starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, will begin production in 2020. Karey Burke, ABC Entertainment President, addressed the coinciding remakes during a panel.

“I’m not really worried about overshadowing the other,” Karey Burke said during the Television Critics Association’s panel. “The timing is so different. Ours premieres in the fall. The movie will hit theaters long after that.”

“It’s also a testament to the strength of the Disney IP that these classic stories can continue to have iterations that are so different,” she continued. “Ours is really built for television. It’s unlike anything any other network has done before in terms of a live musical. It really is a combination of a seamless interweaving of the live-action musical and the animated film itself.”

When does ‘The Little Mermaid Live’ come out?

Being that ABC is under the umbrella of the Walt Disney Company, it’s only fitting that their first “live” production would be a Disney classic. According to the Los Angeles Times, this is “ABC’s first — and very belated — entry in the resurgent genre of live-musical TV programming after years of musical events airing on rival networks.”

Other recently created live musicals include Rent, Hairspray, and The Sound of Music. However, these musicals were produced by television networks other than ABC. There is no premiere date yet for The Little Mermaid Live. More information regarding the cast will come at a later date.