She joins the previously announced cast including Auli’i Cravalho as Ariel, Queen Latifah (Ursula) and Shaggy (Sebastian), Graham Phillips (Prince Eric) and John Stamos (Chef Louis).
Billed as a tribute to the original animated classic and its music, The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live! will feature live musical performances interwoven into the broadcast of the original feature film. The hybrid format will combine sets and costumes created for the special with music from the original animated film and the Tony-winning Broadway stage version, composed by eight-time Oscar-winner Alan Menken. Howard Ashman’s film lyrics will also be showcased, with Glenn Slater, lyricist for the Broadway adaptation, as a contributor.
Riley played Mercedes Jones for the entire run of Fox’s musical drama Glee and most recently appeared in the Tyler Perry feature Nobody’s Fool, opposite Tiffany Haddish and Tika Sumpter. She won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Effie White in the 2016 West End revival of Dreamgirls. Riley also won Season 17 of Dancing with the Stars in 2013. She next appears in the UPtv original movie My One Christmas Wish.
The show is produced by Done+Dusted. Executive producers include Done+Dusted’s Hamish Hamilton — who also will direct — Katy Mullan, David Jammy, Raj Kapoor and Ian Stewart. Also executive producing is Richard Kraft, producer and director of the Hollywood Bowl productions of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live! airs from 8-10 p.m. Tuesday, November 5, on ABC. The show airs live in the East and delayed at 8 p.m. in the West.