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ABC Announced A Musical Version Of The Little Mermaid And A Star From Moana Will Take The Lead Role

Dueling versions of  The Little Mermaid? These ocean streets are getting spicy out here! After Disney announced Halle Bailey would portray Ariel in the live-action film, folks were excited by the new, multicultural version of the classic fairytale. Now ABC, which is also Disney property, will air a live musical version of the story. They’ve chosen to go the multicultural route again, which is always a great choice. 

Not everyone can make it out to a theater and kids who are stuck at home deserve to see themselves too. The story is a completely fictional fantasy. It makes sense to cast based on talent and who can best encompass the energy of each role, anyway. Never forget the iconic ABC version of Cinderella starring Brandy as the title role and Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother. 

Your fave is back!

Aulí’i Cravalho, star of Moana, will play Ariel. Cravalho is of Native Hawaiin, Puerto Rican, Portuguese, Chinese, and Irish descent. No one plays an internally conflicted young woman about to make some questionable choices that piss off her father only to eventually redeem herself and flex on every hater quite like Cravalho. She’s got that youthful vibrant energy that I lost when I found out adobo was just four different spices mixed together with preservatives. Now I don’t believe in magic and am an internet ghoul. Protect Cravalho at all costs!

The black Ursula lives!

Fans who wanted a black woman to capture the wit and rambunctious persona of Ursula will not be disappointed this time around. While I think Melissa McCarthy will be a great comedic counterpart to Bailey, and after all the OG Disney Ursula is based on a white drag queen, I am excited to see Queen Latifah take on the role for this version. 

“’Fortunately I know a little magic.’ Excited to be part of The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live!” The Queen tweeted.

After seeing her swagger as Matron “Mama” Morton in Chicago, there is no doubt in my mind the Queen will deliver. 

Shaggy — and I can’t emphasize this enough — Shaggy!

Shaggy will play the crab, Sebastian. Shaggy. Yes, that Shaggy. This means the “It Wasn’t Me” dancehall singer will perform “Under the Sea” live in front of literal millions of human beings. By the glory of some unthinkable god, please tell me he has prosthetic crab legs. I can’t think of a more 2019 casting choice than this besides, like, the entire cast of the Cats movie.

While it may seem a little odd, I am glad we won’t have to hear someone doing a clumsy impersonation of a Caribbean accent. And although I have never seen the man act, I say put him in Big Little Lies season three because somehow I know Shaggy only improves screenplays. 

We’re in unchartered territory. 

This will be ABC’s first live musical. NBC paved the way for the contemporary format with 2013’s Sound of Music special. Fox hopped on the bandwagon with Grease and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Now ABC wants in on the television musical big bucks. Let’s hope that ABC has watched the competition closely and tweaked their process accordingly. It is very difficult to translate stage musicals for the screen to no fault of the performers themselves. Seeing Ariel fake swim in a fake ocean, wearing a fake mermaid tail, on stage, on my television, there is not enough $3.00 wine on earth to make that appear seamless to anyone. 

But what about the music? 

Disney currently is home to both the broadway and animated versions of the story. The live musical will combine music from both mediums, which was largely composed by Alan Menken. This is a great idea. In the animated film, Ariel doesn’t get many numbers because she loses her voice so early on. This will hopefully ensure we get more bops from Ariel and don’t miss out on Cravalho’s voice. There’s still no word on who will be playing King Triton, Flounder, or Prince Eric. 

The live musical will air on November 5 at 8 PM EST known officially as The Wonderful World of Disney presents The Little Mermaid Live! It just rolls right off the tongue. 

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