The Little Mermaid Live!


The Little Mermaid is a classic film that brings most of us back to our childhood. On Nov. 13, 1989, The Little Mermaid pronounced itself to the world for the very first time. With an incredibly talented cast, The Little Mermaid made it impossible to recreate the magic that only the original brought. That is until Little Mermaid Live! Made its debut on Nov. 5, 2019. Unfortunately, many viewers were disappointed with the show. It is starting with the cast.

To announce the 30-year celebration was the queen of the sea, the original Ariel, Jodi Benson. But the actual performer of Ariel was the voice of Moana, Auli’i Cravalho. Queen Latifah as Ursula, Shaggy as Sebastion, Graham Phillips as Prince Eric, and John Stamos as Chef Louis. For me, the two actors that stood out in the show were Queen Latifah and Graham Phillips due to their strong vocals and the authenticity they brought to their characters. 

Now at the beginning of the show, Benson said that this live musical would be different than others put on stage. It would be 50% of the original cartoon movie and 50% live. But from actually viewing it, I can tell you that it was more like 90% original movie and 10% live. The only live segments were the songs. For this, I felt like there was no point really to watch the live if it is just the exact cartoon movie with some live musical numbers sprinkled throughout. However, I understand that this is a new way to watch the film and celebrate its magic, but if they were to do a live show, I say go full out. The transitions from the movie to the stage were very smooth, though. They were creative and made you say, “Woah, I liked that” or “That was cool.” It was one of the few positives I would applaud this show. 

Cravalho’s performance as Ariel was one I wouldn’t give 5 stars to. Her voice didn’t fit or match the ranges that Benson or even another actress could’ve. And you could hear her struggling to hit the next high note, and I would cringe when she stayed flat, out of pitch, and off tempo. 

Shaggy’s performance as Sebastion was downright disappointing. He always seemed awkward tell of his facial expressions and his voice and vocals were not matched at all to fit with the swagger and natural choral Sebastion should bring. 

Stamos is a heartthrob for most of our parents, so casting him as the role of a quirky and crazy chef was a little strange to me. And once again, the singing that he performed was not what I had imagined. It made me quite uncomfortable. 

But not only was the actor’s musical talent shaky in this show, but so were the costumes and stage routines. The costumes didn’t fit the actors well. It made them look unflattering, and to add to that; they looked uncomfortable and awkward in their ensembles. 

The dance routines varied in quality. The dancers were outstanding; however, the choreography was strange. For example, when Cravalho was performing Part of Your World, she was singing on a rock while in the background was a double Ariel “swimming” with Prince Eric. Talk about confusing. Another example of a strange dance routine was Les Poissons. The crabs looked like big floppy spiders. And they were children! Plus, the ending pose was the human cooks in the pot. Was that on purpose? I couldn’t tell you. 

They also added some original songs in addition to covering the classic jams. They gave Prince Eric three songs, a group song, a duet, and a solo. In his duet with Ariel, I was baffled. At this point in the show, Ariel had lost her voice, yet she was singing a duet with Prince Eric expressing her undying love for him but explaining how it’s very complicated at the same time. This is what I call a lack of detail and not putting the pieces together. If she lost her voice, how can she sing and not speak to Prince Eric?

The set. The set was, for the most part, pretty cool. They had jellyfish floating from the ceiling, and for all of the musical numbers except Under the Sea, the detail was spot on, and it looked identical to the setting in the movie. I was satisfied with this aspect of the show. 

Overall The Little Mermaid Live! was a 4/10. With a lack of perfection and excitement, I was very disappointed with this new approach to this classic fairytale. Hopefully, the next time they attempt something like this again, it improves majorly to please Disney fans like myself.