The Little Mermaid is going live tonight, but it might not be doing so in exactly the way you’re thinking.
The broadcast that airs tonight is a hybrid movie/live show, with live performers giving us Broadway-level performances of all the songs, while the 1989 animated movie takes over for all the more complicated, less stage-able parts.
We’ve seen a rehearsal of the production, and we can honestly tell you that if you like The Little Mermaid, you will be delighted by this show. It’s big, it’s bright, the costumes are incredible, and it’s just a good time, and a fantastic 30th anniversary celebration of the movie.
Here’s a few things you can expect tonight.
An Impressive Prince Eric
Eric is one of the hottest Disney princes, but he doesn’t do much in the movie. Thanks to a few additional songs from the Broadway show, Eric now has much more to do, and Graham Philips is more than capable. You may recognize him as Zach from The Good Wife or Nick St. Clair from Riverdale, but he’s also got a ton of stage experience.
“You don’t really hear much of Prince Eric in the original, in the way of singing,” Phillips told us ahead of the show. “He does play the flute once or twice, but it’s really nice to do something new, so I don’t have as big of boots to fill, I guess. I can bring something new.”
A Spectacular Ariel
Auli’i Cravalho, who was the voice of Moana, is basically an IRL Disney princess who embodies the littlest mermaid pretty perfectly, even when she’s just lounging on a rock. We all already know she’s an incredible singer, and professional enough to get hit in the head with a flag during a live performance at the Oscars without even flinching, so prepare for more of that level of talent here.
Amazing Costumes and Sets
We spent the majority of the show going “look at that puffer fish!” “look at that starfish!” and “look at the aerial jellyfish!” There’s a whole lot to look at, and it’s all visually stunning. You also might find yourself forgetting you’re an adult and not a five year old at Disneyland.
Some Poor Unfortunate Souls
Queen Latifah is a pretty brilliant Ursula who looks like she’s having a damn good time
Some Slip Ups
We will not say everything was perfect, because it wasn’t. There were a couple lost lyrics and a mic that didn’t work one time, and it was hard to tell if what we saw is exactly what will air, but overall, as of a few hours before airtime, the majority of the show was pretty flawless.
A Few Things That Are Not Live
One performance will not be live, simply because it would be impossible to get the stage set up for that number and then the one after it in the time available. This was pretty obvious to tell as we watched the crew move the giant set pieces around, so no complaints here about one song not being live.
Prepare yourself for a good time, and click play above to hear some of the stars of the show talk about what they’re bringing to their characters!
The Little Mermaid Live also stars Shaggy and John Stamos, and airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.