The Little Mermaid Live! Adds Glee Alum Amber Riley

The Little Mermaid is popping back into our popular culture in some interesting ways, between a live-action film set to hit the big screen and ABC's upcoming live musical rendition. According to a new report from TVLine, Glee veteran Amber Riley will be joining the upcoming The Little Mermaid Live as the event's emcee. According to a statement from the network, Riley "will present the Daughter of Triton with a special performance for King Triton and his subjects". She will join a cast that includes Moana's Auli'i Cravalho as Ariel and Queen Latifah as Ursula.

Riley is best known for portraying Mercedes Jones in Glee, as well as winning Season 17 of Dancing With the Stars. This marks Riley's return to the world of live musicals, after she previously appeared alongside Latifah in NBC's The Wiz.

The Little Mermaid Live was originally announced in August, with a cast that also includes Shaggy as Sebastian, John Stamos as Chef Louis, and Riverdale's Graham Phillips as Prince Eric. ABC had originally planned to air a version of The Little Mermaid Live back in 2017, cutting together live performances of the classic songs with clips from the original movie. It was ultimately scrapped ahead of its October 2017 premiere dates. Glenn Slater, lyricist from The Little Mermaid on Broadway, will contribute in some way to the new special. Richard Craft is also set to executive produce.

The Little Mermaid was first adapted into a Disney film in 1989, and spawned its own Broadway musical in 2007. The forthcoming live-action adaptation will be directed by Rob Marshall (Mary Poppins Returns), with a script from David Magee and Jane Goldman. The film is expected to feature original songs from the 1989 animated blockbuster, as well as new tracks composed by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The cast will include Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and Awkwafina as Skuttle, with Melissa McCarthy in talks to play Ursula.

"'Ladies First'. That's all I'll say." McCarthy said of Latifah's role in The Little Mermaid Live in an interview in August. "I love Queen Latifah so much. I still have my cassette tape of 'Ladies First'. Cassette! Does that date me? She can do anything. I'll be [there with] both hands on [my] chin, watching her."

the little mermaid live amber riley
(Photo: Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
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The Little Mermaid Live is set to air on Tuesday, November 5th on ABC, as part of The Wonderful World of Disney.