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ABC Dives Into Live Musicals With The Little Mermaid

The live musical presentation will air this October.

Sierra Boggess as Ariel in the 2008 Broadway production of The Little Mermaid.
(© Joan Marcus)

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC is joining the live musical trend, with plans to produce The Wonderful World of Disney: Little Mermaid Live as part of its 2017-18 season. The two-hour special, set to air on October 3, will intertwine the 1989 animated film with live musical performances of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's score.

As opposed to the live musicals produced by NBC (The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, The Wiz, Hairspray) and Fox (Grease), ABC's broadcast will blend live performances with the original film in a similar manner to last June's Hollywood Bowl production, which featured musical numbers performed while the animated film played in the background.

The cast of that production was led by Sara Bareilles as Ariel, with Rebel Wilson as Ursula, John Stamos as Chef Louis, Tituss Burgess as Sebastian, and Darren Criss as Prince Eric.

News of Little Mermaid Live comes on the heels of a string of live musical announcements, including Fox's Rent and A Christmas Story, and NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar. NBC will also air a live version of Bye Bye Birdie, starring Jennifer Lopez, this December.

The Wonderful World of Disney: Little Mermaid Live will be produced by Done Dusted, with Hamish Hamilton, Ian Stewart, David Jammy, Katy Mullan, and Richard Kraft, of Kraft-Engel Productions, serving as executive producers.