Small screen star Graham Phillips, who in 2008 made his Broadway debut in 13, returns to his musical roots to play Prince Eric in ABC's The Little Mermaid Live!, airing November 5.
Since the Jason Robert Brown musical, he has made a name for himself with roles on such shows as The Good Wife and Riverdale. “My first love was theatre," he tells Playbill. “So I've always felt more comfortable on stage than I have in front of the camera.
“Even though Little Mermaid is in front of a camera, it’s live, so there's no room for pussyfooting around. You really have to commit.”
The Disney presentation, which weaves together live performances from a specially designed concert stage with clips from the original movie, will feature songs from the original 1992 film score and the Broadway adaptation, which played two blocks away from 13.
And unlike the original animated movie, Prince Eric sings in this version. “In the film he’s such a blank slate; he doesn’t even sing. Getting to learn these new songs and understand his perspective a little more was very cool,” Phillips says.
Following his seaside adventure, the actor hopes to return to familiar stomping grounds: “For quite a while I've felt like something was missing, and I've realized that it's singing, so my sights are definitely set on getting back on Broadway. I've been missing it for a long time.”