Auli’i Cravalho, seen here at the Ralph Breaks the Internet premiere, will become a second Disney princess this winter when she plays Ariel in a live-action TV special.
Photo: Jesse Grant (Getty Images)

While director Rob Marshall is busy working with Lin-Manuel Miranda and others to bring The Little Mermaid to the big screen with Halle Bailey as Ariel, another live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated hit is coming to TV.

The Hollywood Reporter says Auli’i Cravalho, also known as the voice of Moana, will play Ariel in a live concert production that’ll air on ABC November 5. She’ll be joined by Queen Latifah as Ursula and Shaggy as Sebastian.


Unlike the upcoming movie, this TV version will be a hybrid performance that blends live performance on set, like a Broadway play, with clips from the original animated film. A version of this show was originally supposed to air in 2017 but was canceled and now most of the creative team is back.

Here’s an image of what the set will look like.

An artist’s rendering of the Little Mermaid live set.
Image: ABC

This may sound like something new, but Disney has done similar events for smaller audiences at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California. In productions of Beauty and the Beast, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and, yes, even The Little Mermaid, actors took the stage to perform the songs in person with a full orchestra accompanying them, as the movie played to fill in the blanks in the story. It also feels like the Disney/ABC answer to other networks bringing live musicals to TV, like Grease Live and Rent Live.

Expect more casting soon, but mark it on your calendars now: The Little Mermaid live is coming to ABC on November 5. The live-action film, which is likely to co-star Melissa McCarthy as Ursula and Harry Styles as Eric, has yet to be dated.


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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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