ABC announced Tuesday that it was tossing its hat in the ring of live TV musical events with “The Wonderful World Of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live!” Other details are sparse, but the enhanced broadcast of the 1989 Disney animated classic has been slotted for an October 3rd airdate.
While it’s a bit surprising that it’s taken this long for the network to take a Disney property (especially one that’s already had a Broadway run) and bring it to TV, it won’t be a full-fledged musical along the lines of the “Grease Live” or “The Sound of Music Live” productions that have popped up on other channels.
There’s also no word on casting for this ABC version of “Little Mermaid” yet. But, given the live-singalong format that they’re looking to adopt, they might veer close to the talent at the front of last year’s Hollywood Bowl production, which saw Sara Bareilles as Ariel and Tituss Burgess reprising his Broadway role as Sebastian.
But whether or not this rises to the level of a full television spectacular, there’s one group ensemble choice that makes too much sense: ABC should just hire the cast of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” No other celebrities needed.
Yes, the CW and ABC have different parent companies. And sure, if this goes on as planned in the fall, it’ll be right in the middle of when “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” Season 3 would theoretically be shooting. But when you start to compare the casts of characters, it’s hard not to imagine a universe where this totally works.
Ariel – Rachel Bloom
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” has seen its share of Disney influences, so it would be great to see Bloom pay tribute to Ashman and Menken directly. Last summer, Bloom shared with us a few of the live musicals she wouldn’t mind being a part of, but this would be a perfect chance to spin some of the Rebecca Bunch energy into a literal fish-out-of-water tale.
Ursula – Donna Lynne Champlin
Anyone who’s seen “Face Your Fears” or her live performance of “Maybe This Dream” from earlier this spring knows that Champlin has a voice that can bring down buildings. Give this woman “Poor Unfortunate Soul” and she would erase all memory of anyone else ever doing it.
Eric – Vincent Rodriguez III
Through all the twists and turns of the first two seasons, Rodriguez has been a steady leading man. Prince Eric’s rose-colored idealism is a natural match for the more sincere side of Josh Chan. Plus, if you listen close enough, Rodriguez already sounds like Christopher Daniel Barnes, who voiced the animated original.
Sebastian – Gabrielle Ruiz
One of the more satisfying twists of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” Season 2 was watching Valencia turn from villainous, scorned ex-lover to a supportive friend. What is Sebastian if not a overzealous wedding planner, only in crab form? It would certainly lead to a version of “Under the Sea” we’d tune in for.
Scuttle – Pete Gardner
Even though Darryl is the world’s biggest sweetheart, Gardner’s shown he has a wisecracking side too. Though he would make a good Triton — if only for a stealth “I Love My Daughter” reprise somewhere in the show — there would be something poetic about Gardner going from playing a Whitefeather to a character with white feathers.
Flounder – Vella Lovell
If we’re updating the show for a 2017 audience, doesn’t it make sense that Flounder would have a dash of Heather’s blasé attitude? At the very least, it would bring new meaning to “I put drugs in the water supply.”
King Queen Triton – Tovah Feldshuh
Feldshuh and Bloom have such a finely-honed mother-daughter relationship, so why mess with success? And we already know Feldshuh’s equipped for the task — “Where’s the Bathroom?” from Season 1 basically harnessed all the power of a magical trident in song form.
Chef Louis – Santino Fontana
Greg may be gone from the show, but that doesn’t mean that a cameo here wouldn’t still be ideal. And while Greg often played the straight man to the West Covina chaos swirling around him, this would be the perfect mini-showcase for Fontana’s goofier side. Toss in a tap number as the chef slices up fish in “Les Poissons” and you’ve got a show-stopper.
And on top of these, you also have newly-minted cast regulars David Hull and Scott Michael Foster who could clean up any of the remaining roles. Either of them would make a fine Grimsby. Again, we’re just saying, this makes too much sense.