The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live! is a television special that aired live on ABC, on November 5, 2019, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of The Little Mermaid. Hamish Hamilton directed and also served as an executive producer. The production is described as a "hybrid format" that includes intricate sets and costumes, along with music from the original 1989 film and the 2008 Broadway stage version. It was a blend of puppetry, animation, and live-action elements.
This special tribute to the original animated classic and its timeless music will take viewers on a magical adventure under the sea as live musical performances by a star-studded cast will be interwoven into the broadcast of the original feature film. This never-before-seen hybrid format will feature beautifully intricate sets and costumes, with music from the original animated film and the Tony Award®-winning Broadway stage version, originally composed by eight-time Oscar®-winning composer, Alan Menken. Howard Ashman's iconic film lyrics will also be showcased, while lyricist for the Broadway adaptation, Glenn Slater, will contribute to the star-studded spectacular.
- Auli'i Cravalho as Ariel
- Queen Latifah as Ursula
- Shaggy as Sebastian
- John Stamos as Chef Louis
- Graham Phillips as Prince Eric
- Amber Riley as Emcee
- Jodi Benson as Herself
- Melanie Moore as Aquata
- Mandy Gonzalez as Andrina
- Tiffany Daniels as Arista
- Yoori Kim as Attina
- Amanda LaCount as Alana
- Dominique Kelley as Grimsby
- Bagel, the Old English Sheepdog as Max
- Guillermo Rodriguez as "Dat Blowfish"
- Fathoms Below - Prince Eric, Grimsby and Ensemble
- Daughters of Triton - Emcee and King Triton's Daughters
- Part of Your World - Ariel
- Part of Your World (Reprise) - Ariel
- Under the Sea - Sebastian, Ariel and Ensemble
- Her Voice - Prince Eric
- Poor Unfortunate Souls - Ursula and Ariel
- Les Poissons - Chef Louis and Ensemble
- Kiss the Girl - Sebastian and Ensemble
- If Only - Ariel and Eric
- Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise) - Ursula
- Happy Ending - Ensemble (Uncredited)
A digital version of the soundtrack was made available to purchase from online retailers.
- The special was originally slated to air in October 2017 but was shelved due to budgetary reasons. Disney and ABC then revived the special in August 2019 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the animated film and to promote the Disney+ streaming service.
- Auli'i Cravalho is the second woman of color to play Ariel, between JoAnna Garcia in Once Upon a Time and Halle Bailey in the live-action film.
- This is the second time Auli'i Cravalho plays a Disney princess, as she is the voice of Moana.
- Shaggy performed a laidback cover of Under the Sea for the film's 10th anniversary soundtrack, back in 1999.
- Queen Latifah portrayed Ursula in Annie Leibovitz's Disney Dream Portrait Series, back in 2011.
- John Stamos reprises the role of Chef Louis after having previously played it at the 2016 Hollywood Bowl concert version of The Little Mermaid.
- The show's format of interspersing animated sequences from the film between live performances of the film's musical numbers resembles the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
- The 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo makes a surprise appearance at the beginning when Jodi Benson introduces The Little Mermaid Live.
- In the "Fathoms Below" scene at the end, Prince Eric steps on a wooden box which on the side of it has the logo of the 2016 animated movie Moana.
- In the "If Only" scene on the wall of Ariel's side there are three pictures of three Disney Villains, Lady Tremaine, Captain Hook, and The Evil Queen.
- Some of the songs, including "Fathoms Below" and "Poor Unfortunate Souls" feature new lyrics original to this live performance.
- The score of the film was played live by an unseen live orchestra during the film portions. You can tell because more than one kazoo plays during Sebastian's entrance, and an actual accordion plays during the jig, rather than the synthesized one in the original film.