ABC will not move forward with its planned October 3 live television musical event The Wonderful World of Disney: Little Mermaid Live, according to USA Today. Sources close to the project said budget constraints prompted the network to “quietly postpone,” or most likely cancel the two-hour special that would have combined the 1989 animated film with live musical performances from celebrity artists performing songs from the Alan Menken-Howard Ashman score.
Casting had not been announced, but sources told USA Today that sets for the special were already being built and rehearsals were slated to begin shortly.
ABC released a statement in response to the story, saying, “We are postponing the Little Mermaid Live special. We love the idea of doing a live musical and want to make it wonderful. The project is so unique that we are making best efforts to do it next year and want to give it all the attention it deserves.”
In its May 16 announcement of The Little Mermaid Live, the network said the special would use cutting edge technology to deliver a “never-before-seen live action/animation hybrid television experience.”
Disney is still moving forward with its major motion picture live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, which will feature additional material from Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda and Menken.
The October 3 television special was inspired by the celebrity-studded concerts that took place at the Hollywood Bowl last year. The cast included Sara Bareilles as Ariel, Tituss Burgess as Sebastian the Crab, Darren Criss as Prince Eric, Rebel Wilson as Ursula the Sea Witch, Norm Lewis repeating his Broadway role as King Triton, Joshua Colley as Flounder, and John Stamos as Chef Louis.