The Sound of Music Live! was such a success for NBC that you knew that would not be the end of live musicals on TV. NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt announced today that their next musical project will be Peter Pan Live. It will air December 4, 2014 on NBC.
NBC seems to be pulling out all of the stops for the production of Peter Pan Live. NBC is bringing back Craig Zadan and Neil Meron who also were the producers for The Sound of Music Live!. Greenblatt promises to use what he says is “state of the art light technology” to bring Tinkerbell to life on TV screens. To me that sounds like Tinkerbell is going to be an animated character who will interact with the actors performing live. If this is the way it really is going to be, then I would love to see it. As if there isn’t enough pressure on the live performance, acting with a character that you can’t see while performing live should be pretty interesting for us in the audience.
Casting for Peter Pan Live has not yet been announced and to me, that will be the most interesting piece in this puzzle for NBC. Peter Pan is full of kids. Kids doing live TV is awfully risky. The Sound of Music Live! had the kids sure but the show was carried by the adults. The kids did make a few minor mistakes during the broadcast which was not surprising but the mistakes were able to be covered by the strong performances of the adults in the cast.
Peter Pan has very few adults so the majority of the cast is going to be kids. I don’t think NBC will try to use young looking 20-somethings to play the parts in the show but you never know. Cathy Rigby, who played Peter Pan on Broadway in the 70s, finished a run in Chicago last year as Peter Pan. She’s 62 years old now but apparently still believable enough as a young boy so maybe NBC can get her for the role.
Broadway had a Peter Pan type of a show running up until a year ago called Peter and the Star Catcher. That show closed in January of last year. If the cast from that show is now free, NBC might way to take a look at them too but it seems like they went older with their cast.
I watched The Sound of Music Live! last year because I was sure it was going to be a giant disaster. It turned out that I was wrong and I actually ended up loving the show. I’m not completely sold on the genre that NBC is trying to bring back to TV. I’m more interested in Peter Pan Live because I want to see who they cast and if it is indeed mostly children, then I want to tune in to see what happens.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated on casting as soon as NBC makes their announcement. I’m sure you are all on the edge of your seat as much as I am waiting to hear who will be trying to pull this off. In the mean time, I leave you with my favorite performance from The Sound of Music Live! by Audra McDonald (who stole the show from headliner Carrie Underwood).