Who forgot his claws? Was it you, Shaggy?!
Today's greatest threats to civil society may be climate change, the 2020 presidential election, and live versions of Disney musicals.
Despite the combination of curiosity, nostalgia, and skepticism that keeps viewers tuning in to ABC's live productions of musicals, it's not like we like them. Are we entertained? Surely, but for all the wrong reasons. When The Little Mermaid Live! aired last night, Twitter was interested in how the 1989 beloved classic would be staged before an audience. After all, it's been 30 years since songwriters Alan Menken and Howard Ashman gave the world "Part of Your World," "Kiss the Girl," and "Under the Sea."
What aired was a bogus bastardization of Broadway musical numbers, creepy puppeteering, and a watch party of the original animation, as the "live" musical was a disjointed mix of animated clips and live performances. Even with Queen Latifah breathing life into the production with a sonorous performance as Ursula and a decent, if pitchy, showing from 18-year-old Auli'i Cravahlo (Moana), ABC's constant commercial breaks advertising the upcoming Disney+ streaming platform made it clear that the whole production was just "the most expensive Disney+ ad" made to date.
But above all, what cannot be unseen is Shaggy's role as Sebastian. Yes, the officious, suck-up crab and side kick who represented every nerdy teacher's pet who tried to sit with the popular kids in the cafeteria but ended up a tattle tale by recess. Most notable about his performance as the iconic crab was the fact that Shaggy, rather than matching the staging and rest of the cast's costumes, simply wore red pants and a red, boxy faux leather jacket. Some viewers saw Michael Jackson from Thriller ghost-walking along the bottom of the sea and haunting Ariel, while others saw Shaggy doing a good job playing Sebastian if Sebastian were a 51-year-old philandering reggae singer.
Queen Latifah strutted across the stage with full tentacles, Cravahlo was rendered immobile by Ariel's fish tale for whole scenes, and, oh yeah, children dressed in full red crab costumes scuttled across the stage during John Stamos' harlequin rendition of Chef Louis's "Les Poissons." But Shaggy apparently got a pass.
To be clear, ABC's resident costume guy, Robert Mills, came to his own defense. (Apparently his title is "senior vice president of alternate series, specials, and late-night," but realistically, all we know him as is "the crab costume guy" now). Mills tweeted, "For those wondering, Shaggy wore crab claws in early rehearsals and it looked ridiculous." Then he answered public demand by tweeting a photo of Shaggy wearing the claws behind scenes, closing the loop of the masochism and cartoonish hellscape that is modern entertainment on ABC.
What's worse than Sean Spicer, Trump's former Press Secretary and traitor to the American public, being cast on ABC's Dancing with the Stars? Sean Spicer remaining on Dancing with the Stars because of Trump's encouragement to get his 66.5 million Twitter followers to keep voting for him. And you know what's worse than that? Shaggy cast as Michael Jackson playing Shaggy as Sebastian.
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Cats in tuxedos are here to lend you their strength.
2020 is on fire.
From the COVID-19 pandemic to the racist police epidemic to freaking murder hornets, let's just throw 2020 out. Yes, the entire year.
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Why "Moana" will get him there.
It's safe to say 2016 was a good year for Lin-Manuel Miranda. His musical, Hamilton, which he wrote and starred in, took Broadway for a major ride. Hamilton shattered record after record, especially at the Tony Awards, where the hip-hop musical took home 11 out of the record-breaking 16 nominations it received, including for Best Musical.
But Miranda's recognition at award shows hasn't stemmed from Hamilton alone. In 2008, his inaugural Broadway musical, In the Heights, was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, winning four, including Best Musical. And both In the Heights and Hamilton won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.
Then in 2014, Miranda won an Emmy for co-writing the opening musical number for the 67th Tony Awards.
Oh, and don't forget about his MacArthur "Genius" Award and Pulitzer Prize in Drama for Hamilton — you know, as a bonus.
So that only leaves one award left — the ever sought-after Academy Award. Only 12 people have ever received an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony — or the EGOT. Among those include Mel Brooks, Audrey Hepburn and Whoopi Goldberg. The most recent winner was Robert Lopez in 2014, who received the prestigious honor after co-writing the music for Frozen.
So what does this have to do with Miranda? Nothing, except that he is (most likely) EGOT eligible in 2017. Miranda co-wrote the music and lyrics for Disney's newest animated hit, Moana. After his awesome work with Star Wars: The Force Awakens last year (he composed the new cantina song, "Jabba Flow"), we were all pretty excited to see what else was up his sleeve. And, in typical Miranda fashion, he outdid himself in a massive way with Moana.
The Oscar nominations for 2017 won't be announced until Jan. 24, but seeing as Moana just got a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song for "How Far I'll Go," we can see this soundtrack is headed for the Academy Awards, too.
But will Miranda win the Golden Globe? My hope is yes; it seems like the most logical and well-deserved choice. However, "How Far I'll Go" is up against some great competition. Trolls, La La Land, Sing and Gold are all nominated for their original pieces. In the end, though, I believe it's going to Moana. But even if the award goes to someone else, the Globes don't determine who's going to win, just who will most likely be nominated.
Award shows love Miranda — almost as much as they love Disney. If anyone is as deserving of this honor, it's Miranda. If (read: when) he does get nominated and win, he'll be the youngest EGOT winner at 37, and he'll have completed his win in the least amount of time — in nine years, slightly one-upping the two records Lopez broke in 2014 (Lopez was 39 when he won his Oscar for Frozen, and he completed his EGOT win in 10 years).
As a playwright, actor, composer and lyricist, he has worked immensely hard for the last several years. Without diminishing the hard work the other EGOT winners have put in (looking at you, Helen Hayes!), Miranda is arguably the most original and groundbreaking artist of our generation.
And even though Moana will most likely get him this esteemed recognition, he's already begun looking ahead to his next endeavors. It's been announced that he will star in the Mary Poppins sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, and he's been tapped to serve as a co-producer and co-composer for Disney's live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
So even if he doesn't win for Moana, just remember, "He'll Be Back!"
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