As actor John Stamos waited backstage at the Hollywood Bowl for his big song in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, he mentally prepared himself to portray the eccentric Chef Louis. However, once he had the chef’s giant mustache on, his transition into character was instantaneous.
“I put on that mustache and something came over me,” Stamos said. “I had a sense of bravado with the character that I didn’t have before.”
After his energetic rendition of “Les Poisson” (a song about Chef's love of brutally cutting apart dead fish) at the Hollywood Bowl, Stamos was asked to don the over-the-top mustache one last time for ABC's The Little Mermaid Live!, premiering November 5.
“What’s great playing this character is that he can flip at any moment; one second he loves the fish, the next he’s going to murder them,” Stamos said. “He’s like a Sweeney Todd character in that way.”
Unlike previous live musicals on major networks, The Little Mermaid Live! is a hybrid of the animated feature and live performances. This Tuesday, the original 1989 movie will play on ABC, but for each song, the program will cut to a live, fully designed and choreographed musical number. The live portion of the event will feature 12 of Alan Menken’s songs from both The Little Mermaid film and the Broadway stage adaptation.
“This event is the perfect combination of the old and the new,” Stamos said, “Fans of the original get to sit down and watch the movie they love but with some extra zhuzh.”
Stamos is joined by a star-studded cast including Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) as Ariel, Graham Phillips (The Good Wife) as Prince Eric, Queen Latifah as Ursula, and reggae artist Shaggy as Sebastian. Hamish Hamilton, known for his work on numerous Super Bowl half time shows, directs the live television event.
“The team has created a really safe environment for us to play around in and try new things,” Stamos says on the rehearsal process for the production. He mentioned that his musical number in particular will feature dancing, knife throwing, and interaction with the live studio audience.
“We’re really having a blast, and hopefully the audience at home will too!”
The Little Mermaid Live! airs Tuesday, November 5 at 8 pm EDT/ on ABC.