Disney’s animated classic The Little Mermaid is getting the live-action treatment soon, in two very different ways. First, coming this fall, ABC is doing The Little Mermaid Live! as their entry in the live musicals phenomenon. After that, the House of Mouse is making a live-action Little Mermaid film with new songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. But one thing any good adaptation of The Little Mermaid needs is a perfect person to play Ursula the Sea Witch. And those are some pretty big tentacles to fill.
But who to play Ursula? In our recent fan casting of The Little Mermaid, we suggested none other than Bette Midler. Interestingly, as Sebastian the crab, we put down Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Broadway star Tituss Burgess for that part, seeing as he originated the role on Broadway back in 2007. But it seems if Titus had his way, it’s not Sebastian he’d be playing, but Ursula herself.
At the recent Vulture Festival, the crowd was treated to Tituss Burgess’ rendition of Ursula’s signature song “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” As Burgess explains to the audience, back when he was playing Sebastian on Broadway, he auditioned for the part of Ursula, but the producers wouldn’t go for it, sadly. You can check out his rendition of the classic Disney tune in the video down below.
I don’t know about you guys, but I think I’ve switched my vote from Bette Midler as Ursula and am now on team Tituss. But would Disney ever have the cojones to cast a gay man in drag as Ursula? It would actually be fitting. After all, the original visual inspiration for Ursula was none other than legendary drag queen Divine, who was an old Baltimore buddy of Little Mermaid composer Howard Ashman. So in a way, Ursula has been a drag queen from the word go.
What do you think of a Tituss Burgess Ursula? Let us know what you think down below in the comments.
Images: Walt Disney Company / New Line Cinema
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