Disney Seeking White Transgender Actor for Lead in ‘Little Mermaid’ Musical


According to reports by Walt Disney World News, and confirmed by MSN, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has opened a casting call for the upcoming production of “The Little Mermaid – A Musical Adventure,” and they are explicitly seeking transgender men and women. The new show, which replaces the former  musical “Voyage of the Little Mermaid,” is auditioning for actors to fill various roles, including both leads Ariel and Eric.


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Oddly, the casting listing specifies that Ariel should be a white, female, or transgender woman, while Eric shall be a white, male, or transgender man. The show is set to debut this fall at the Animation Courtyard Theater in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, featuring songs from the original film as well as additional tunes not included in the live action remake, like “Kiss the Girl” and “Daughters of Triton.” Did anyone spot the irony?



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The listing for Ariel reads, “18 to 30 years old, White woman, transgender woman. 5’2″ – 5’6″. A spirited, fun-loving, yet curious mermaid princess who longs to be a part of the human world. Lyrical pop soprano with belt to C.” And for Eric, it reads, “18 to 30 years old, White man, transgender man. 5’10” – 6’0″. Charismatic and fearless, Prince Eric is a true romantic who never gives up on his heart’s desire. Non-singing role.”


Did we forget last year’s live action remake already?



While Disney opening auditions up to transgender performers should surprise no one, given their full throated promotion of gender identity and all matters of DEI, what I guess I find most shocking is that they’re casting explicitly WHITE actors for the role. Is this an indication that Halle Bailey’s portrayal of the undersea songstress is no longer considered canon? Or is this their way of deflecting the recent revelations and allegations that the company has been discriminating against white employees? Social media was quick to make light of the peculiar casting approach. 




The Little Mermaid — A Musical Adventure is expected to debut this fall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A first look at some of the new puppets was shared online earlier this year. 



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Chris Braly

I'm one opinionated, based geek. I try to steer this tiny ship and can often be heard monthly on the Comic Book Page Previews Spotlight podcast with several fellow "comic book nerds." Follow me on Twitter @ChrisBraly. My preferred adjectives are brilliant/beautiful.