TV Review: ‘The Little Mermaid Live!’

  • Variety
“The Little Mermaid Live!,” ABC’s often-jittery, ultimately charming concert special, strode into a heavy wake.

It follows NBC’s now-shelved holiday-season tradition of live musicals whose very appeal was their dancing on the edge of catastrophe, as with ambitious stagings of “The Sound of Music” in 2013 and “Peter Pan” in 2014, shows whose occasional shortfalls proved the admirable ambition of the project. Earlier this year, Fox’s own attempt at a similar ongoing project came to a jarring and weird impasse when an elaborately planned live production of “Rent” was confronted by its lead breaking his foot before air, necessitating the awkward use of taped rehearsal footage when airtime came.

ABC has no such tradition, and was free to make its own rules for a live musical production — ones that happened to be pleasantly in line with the network’s other current brief. In the days before the launch of Disney Plus,
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