Live televised musicals are having a bit of a moment right now as many networks look to integrate popular stories into their lineup through as many avenues as possible. Disney is set to debut their live-action take on The Little Mermaid soon, and fans just got their first taste of Queen Latifah as Ursula. A new behind-the-scenes look at the production from TV Guide showed off all the stars from the production getting ready for their big debut on Tuesday. A considerable part of the video was Ariel's actress in this adaptation, Auli'i Cravalho singing "Part of Your World." Another stand-out moment would have to be the star actress and rapper playing the story's villain giving her take on "Poor Unfortunate Souls." The accomplished star even said that she was "terrified" by the prospect of having to live up to the animated classic.
This live musical is not the same thing as the upcoming film entry starring Halle Bailey. But, it strives to put its own spin on the story through a mix of animation and practical effects. The stage designs shown off in the video are something to behold, as well as the choreography going into all of this production. Ariel's tail, the issue of the water-movement, and all the animated characters that can't be easily conveyed by actors have all been accounted for. Disney released a trailer not too long ago that showed off each of the main cast.
That lineup includes Auli'i Cravalho as Ariel, Queen Latifah as Ursula, Shaggy as Sebastian, Graham Phillips as Prince Eric, and John Stamos as Chef Louie. This live televised version was originally announced in August, with Stamos and Phillips' announced about a month later.
ABC has had its eyes on a version of The Little Mermaid Live since back in 2017. They hoped to achieve this by cutting together live performances of the classic songs with clips from the original movie. Although some ideas from that stage made it through to the final version, that approach was ultimately scrapped ahead of its October 2017 premiere date. Glenn Slater, the lyricist from The Little Mermaid on Broadway, is set to contribute in some way to the new special. Richard Craft is also aboard as an executive producer.
The Little Mermaid has been huge for Disney since the film adaptation in 1989. That success spawned a Broadway musical in 2007. Rob Marshall will direct this live-action adaptation with a script from David Magee and Jane Goldman. This special is expected to feature original songs from the 1989 film, as well as new tracks composed by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda.