ABC will air a presentation of The Little Mermaid Live! on November 5 in honor of the Disney film’s 30th anniversary. The milestone was also marked by The Little Mermaid — An Immersive Live-to-Film Concert Experience put on at the Hollywood Bowl earlier this year. And soon there will be a live-action feature based on the 1989 animated Disney hit. The upcoming film caused quite a stir when it was announced that Halle Bailey was cast in the lead role of Ariel. Additional castings for the live-action remake provided more wins for representation, and The Little Mermaid Live! is following suit. Here’s our scoop on the leads cast in the upcoming live TV special.
Auli’i Cravalho: Ariel
Cravalho is no stranger to Disney musicals. She got her big break voicing the title character in the Disney animated adventure Moana. And she reprised the role in 2018 for Ralph Breaks the Internet. As for on-camera work, her vocal ability helped land her a lead role on the NBC series Rise. Fans of Cravalho can look forward to her upcoming performance in The Little Mermaid Live! as well as in two upcoming movies, Sorta Like a Rockstar and the film adaptation of Spring Awakening.
Queen Latifah: Ursula
The vocal abilities of the Emmy- and Grammy-award winning Latifah extends to multiple genres. Her experiences starring in such film musicals as Hairspray and Chicago will lend itself to a spirited portrayal of Ursula in The Little Mermaid Live! As for upcoming projects, Latifah is executive producing two upcoming biopics, both about singers—The Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel and Where Did the Women of Hip Hop Go? Fans of music and film should also keep an eye out for an upcoming biopic in which she’ll be starring, King of the South, which tells the story of hip-hop mogul Master P.
Shaggy has a long list of soundtrack credits on IMDb as well as appearances in music videos. With regard to theatrical credits, he recently appeared in Netflix’s Game Over, Man! in which he sang “It Wasn’t Me” during a hostage scene. And he played Mace in the 2004 actioner Blast. Taking on the role of Sebastian, however, will be the first role for Shaggy in a long while in which he’ll be playing a fictional role rather than appearing as himself. Based on the success of his music career, fans of the Grammy-winner can look forward to the upcoming live performance, crossing their fingers for a special rendition of “Under the Sea.”
The castings of Ariel, Ursula, and Sebastian for The Little Mermaid Live! aren’t alone in being positive examples of representation. The Little Mermaid—An Immersive Live-to-Film Concert Experience, for example, featured Ken Page as Sebastian and Harvey Fierstein as Ursula. And besides the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel in the upcoming live-action feature, Daveed Diggs is rumored to be playing Sebastian. While that project is still in pre-production, fans can tune in to The Little Mermaid Live! on November 5 to catch Cravhalo, Latifah, Shaggy and the entire talented cast.