Over the past few years, we've seen an exciting new trend in the world of network TV. Starting with NBC's The Sound Of Music Live!, networks have been producing live musical events that rake in some seriously impressive numbers. With FOX jumping into the fold with Grease Live! and its recently announced live version of RENT, it seems that ABC and Disney are teaming up to produce their own version of the live musical event. And their subject will be favorite animated blockbuster The Little Mermaid.
With the upfronts happening, TV networks are announcing some of their projects for the upcoming season; this is exactly what ABC did when announcing The Wonderful World Of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live!, a new live event premiering in October. While paying serious homage to the original film, The Little Mermaid Live! will reportedly intertwine live performances with cutting edge technology in order to fuse live-action with animation. So while we've certainly seen live musicals in the past, ABC and Disney are aiming to make this experience unlike anything we've ever seen before.
There has been no cast announcements regarding who will play the iconic characters in The Little Mermaid Live!, but we've seen how these extremely popular television events have raked in some impressive star power in the past. We've seen stars like Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken, Mary J. Blindge, and Carrie Underwood all step into live roles, and there is certainly no shortage of talent for the upcoming Little Mermaid event.
Adapting The Little Mermaid into a live television/animation hybrid event is certainly ambitious, but there is plenty of source material to adapt for ABC. Because in addition to the iconic songs and dialogue that Disney fans grew up with, the film was also expanded into a Broadway musical back in 2009. Legendary Broadway and Disney composer Alan Menken wrote new songs, allowing for supporting and ensemble roles to be fleshed out and utilized.
As far as talent goes, I can already envision a few big name stars who would likely jump at the chance to get under the ocean. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actor Tituss Burgess actually originated the role of Sebastian on Broadway, which is one of the first big breaks for the now beloved character actor. The musical was also performed recently in a star studded run at the Hollywood Bowl, starring singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles as Ariel, alongside the hilarious Rebel Wilson as Ursula. So The Little Mermaid has had plenty of buzz around it, and has already boasts quite a few stars in earlier adaptations.
It should be particularly interesting to see how Disney managed to fuze live action and animation for The Little Mermaid Live! While Grease Live! was a remarkable in regards to budget and scope, ABC may change the game once again with their upcoming special.
The Wonderful World Of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live! will premiere on Tuesday, October 3 on ABC.