NBC's gotta crow: it's next live musical will be Peter Pan.
After The Sound of Music Live was a ratings success, it was inevitable that NBC would be bullish on making live musical productions a regular thing. NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt announced the choice of Peter Pan at the network's TCA panel. The production will air December 4.
For the sophomore outing to also be produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, the network also went for something traditional, in more ways than one. Not only is Peter Pan a stage classic, but NBC actually has already done live telecasts of the show. The network aired two versions of the show starring Mary Martin, who originated the role on Broadway, in 1955 and 1956 as part of the Producers' Showcase. The network produced another Peter Pan, also starring Martin, filmed in 1960. So, choosing Peter Pan is a particularly nostalgic choice, a nod to the tradition the network wanted to revive with The Sound of Music.
Of course, the biggest question here is who will play Peter, a role traditionally occupied by a woman. Though Martin was wonderful and Cathy Rigby has seemingly never stopped playing the role, whoever gets picked for the part will probably face much less scrutiny than Carrie Underwood did as Maria in The Sound of Music. For one, Julie Andrews' legacy won't be hanging over the entire thing. Our Joe Reid has already placed his money on Anne Hathaway, and that's not actually that bad an idea. Her (over) exuberance would work well as the boy who won't grow up. Anna Kendrick, who has been proving that she can hold her own in the vocal department, would be a good choice here too. Greenblatt actually joked about Miley Cyrus playing the part, which would surely get the ratings and make everyone's head explode. Update: Per Greenblatt, and via The Hollywood Reporter, the network is apparently bucking tradition and looking to cast a male actor in the part of Peter. So! Start imagining which pop stars you'd most likely want to see do a Broadway musical. Harry Styles, maybe? Broadway vet Nick Jonas? We'd throw a lot of support behind a Daniel Radcliffe-starring production. Just saying.
The network also has the chance to stunt cast Captain Hook, which any number of people could do well. Twitter suggestions/suspicions? Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris. Johnny Depp, for better or worse, also could be an outside possibility.
What, in fact, is nice about Peter Pan as opposed to Sound of Music is that it's ultimately a far sillier affair. Even if the network casts someone with little acting experience, a la Carrie Underwood, that's fine because less acting is required here. The show does, though, pose some challenges. For one thing, it involves flying. Greenblatt said that audiences are supposed to see the wires in the production. He also promised "state-of-the-art light technology for Tinkerbell."
All in all? We can't wait.