Peter Pan, according to NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt, will be their next live holiday broadcast of a live musical. The NBC network will broadcast the musical next December 4, 2014. No mention has yet been made of who will be in the cast, though there has been reports that the network will have a male play the lead role of Peter Pan.
Robert Greenblatt said that he has someone in mind he’d like to play Peter Pan, but he didn’t want to mention the name until the person was contacted and had agreed to play the “Boy Who Never Grew Up,” Peter Pan.
Love it or hate it, NBC had a huge ratings success with The Sound of Music Live!. One estimate has it that the controversial production, starring Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp, pulled in 18 million; another has the audience at closer to 19 million.
Because of the success of that program, which aired December 5, 2013, despite some critics complaining that Carrie Underwood was “no Julie Andrews” and that Carrie’s acting was stiff, at best, NBC decided to make live musicals an annual holiday event.
Peter Pan fulfills the two requirements that NBC had of future live musical productions, in that it is familiar to most people and it has a potential wide appeal to the entire family.
The same two people who produced The Sound of Music Live!, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who also produced Footloose and Chicago and who have been signed to produce the 2014 Oscars, will be the producers of Peter Pan. The pair stated that they’d “like a whole new generation to experience ‘Peter Pan’.”
The 1955 NBC production of Peter Pan was the first one that was ever done in color. Also, Peter Pan is a nostalgic favorite with older Americans, in that it was on NBC in 1955 starring actress Mary Martin as Peter Pan. It set a record for most viewers of a television program: 65 million.
Mary Martin earned a Tony for her Broadway role as Peter Pan, and added an Emmy with the television version. NBC also had later broadcasts of the show in 1956 and 1960. Cyril Richards, who played Captain Hook, also received a Tony for the Broadway production. The productions were all done from NBC studios, rather than in front of a live studio audience.
Jerome Robbins was the director and choreographer of the original Broadway production of Peter Pan. It featured the memorable songs “I Won’t Grow Up,” “I’m Flying,” “Never Never Land,” and “I’ve Gotta Crow.”
Peter Pan is a tale of eternal youth, friendship, and loyalty, and it features the mischievous boy, Peter Pan, who never ages. Peter Pan spends his entire life an the magical island of Never Land. He is the leader of the Lost Boys, and the fairy Tinker Bell is always there to help him when he needs it, though she sometimes lets her jealousy get in the way.
Peter Pan brings Wendy Darling and her brothers to Never Land, where they have many adventures. They encounter mermaids, pirates, fairies, and the evil pirate Captain Hook.
The December 4, 2014 live musical NBC production of Peter Pan will likely attract an entire new generation of fans to this timeless classic, which was also made into a Disney film. Stay tuned for more information about this production, including who will be the cast members, as that information is released by NBC.
Written by: Douglas Cobb