“Prince Eric is great, but let’s be honest, I wanted to be Ariel,” the former Glee star tells PEOPLE with a laugh.
But when Criss was approached to participate in the Live in Concert version of the film at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, he almost passed up on the opportunity.
“I first thought, ‘Eric doesn’t sing.’ But then they told me they wanted to include songs from the Broadway version. That got my attention,” he says.
After hearing the Broadway soundtrack, the 29-year-old asked the producers if he could re-envision the song to better fit his voice.
“I don’t have a big, Broadway voice, so I am making it a bit more pop-contemporary,” says Criss, who will play the guitar and be backed by a full orchestra during the song. “That said, it’s still going to be a challenge.”
His song aside, Criss is most excited to be participating in the production with some of his favorite actors and singers.
“I really wanted to celebrate The Little Mermaid, but I would not be willing to get up in front of all those Disney fans if I wasn’t doing it with people that I admire and have a lot of respect for as performers,” Criss says of working with Sara Bareilles as Ariel, Tituss Burgess as Sebastian the Crab, Rebel Wilson as Ursula and John Stamos as Chef Louis.
“The Little Mermaid is a movie that meant so much to me as a kid,” Criss says. “I just love that it is going to be celebrated – and that I get to be a part of it.”
Disney’s The Little Mermaid Live in Concert will be performed Friday, Saturday and Monday nights at 8 p.m. at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.