Ariel, Flounder, and Sebastian are about to become a part of your world in a way that they never have been before.
At the ABC upfronts on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, ABC announced that they are planning a “hybrid television experience” of the cult classic The Little Mermaid that will include live-action and animated performances via cutting-edge technology. The announcement follows the wave of similar announcements from other networks, NBC slated to premiere a live performance of Jesus Christ Superstar on Easter, and Fox planning multiple live musicals, including a musical version of the 1983 classic A Christmas Story during the holidays which will later be followed by Rent.
The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live is set to premiere in fall as a two-hour special event, and will feature the original score from the 1989 animated film with songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (start warming up your vocals, because that means “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl”). The special will be produced by Done + Dusted, with Hamish Hamilton, Ian Stewart, Katy Mullan, and Richard Kraft serving as executive producers. ABC has yet to announce the cast, but they have promised a roster of artists "whose performances will weave seamlessly throughout the original animated film."
We’re not entirely sure what that means, and given the sparsity of the information and that ABC is dipping their toes into unexplored water, we’re not entirely sure what fans should be expecting. Will performers be on stage as the film plays in the background? Is it simply a star-studded sing along? ABC has until fall to figure it out, and it is likely that more information will be released as it gets closer.
Are you ready to go under the sea and sing along? The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live premieres Tuesday, October 3 on ABC.