Live from Under the Sea

Emily Kittle, Staff Writer

On November 5, 2019, something really beautiful came on the ABC network called “The Little Mermaid Live” to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original movie, “The Little Mermaid.”  In the beginning, Jodi Benson, the original voice of Ariel, came out to actually introduce the musical, which was really cool. The production included Auli’i Cravalho as Ariel, Queen Latifah as Ursula, Shaggy as Sebastian, John Stamos as Chef Louis, and finally, Graham Phillips as Prince Eric. The show was not like a normal musical. It was half animated! You may ask how it was animated if it was live, but all they did was show the original film in certain scenes and then progress into others with acting out the next scene. 

Obviously the whole show was cute and fun, but there is actually a lot of controversy about the production! Some people feel like they can’t even call it an actual musical. In the EW review linked above, the reviewer states, “it felt like watching ‘The Little Mermaid’ with regular interruptions for commercials and karaoke,” which I’m not completely sure how I feel about that comment because I loved the way the producers wanted to celebrate the 30th anniversary in a way that included the original film. They also said you would be “better off Googling ‘Little Mermaid High School Production,’ and then you won’t have to suffer through so many awful Muppet advertisements for Facebook.” I get that the puppets were cheesy, but honestly you have to admit they were cute.

 I feel like these actors worked beautifully together, but there were some issues with casting. Originally Harry Styles was called to be the role for Prince Eric but declined the role. Fans were super excited when he originally got the role, but he needed to work on his music, so fans definitely were not mad at Harry, but “The Little Mermaid” fans were mad because it was a setback in the production. That’s when Graham Phillips was casted as Prince Eric. Harry said he would still watch it: “Every­one involved in it was amaz­ing, so I think it’s going to be great. I’ll enjoy watch­ing it, I’m sure.” 

My personal favorite scene from the animated musical is the “Poor Unfortunate Souls!” I feel like there was no one better than Queen Latifah to play the part of Ursula. She came out with her tentacles, started singing, and I just got chills. At one point when she was trying to get the tentacles off in the performance, she actually broke them, which everyone found quite funny. 

All in all, different people have different opinions. Whether you think it was funny, boring or “like a High School Musical,” they put in a lot of effort to the production, and everyone should respect that.