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NBC’s next live musical: 'Peter Pan': Who should be cast?

Following the ratings success of their telecast of “The Sound of Music Live!” NBC announced that they will be producing another live musical: “Peter Pan.” The Broadway musical version of “Peter Pan” debuted in October of 1954 with the great Mary Martin in the title role. NBC aired a live production of the show in 1955, which was so popular that it was rebroadcast several times. Peter Pan is what in theater speak is termed a “pants role”; that is, a male character played by a woman. NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt says that they’ll probably cast a male in the role this time. That’s a bad move. But whom should they cast if they want the show to be good? The Fairies Examiner weighs in here.

Mary Martin in NBC's original production of "Peter Pan" for television in 1956.

NBC’s “The Sound of Music Live!” aired last December to huge ratings. However, the reviews for Carrie Underwood’s performance were poor. If NBC cares about the quality of “Peter Pan” they should give some thought to the poor reviews of “The Sound of Music Live!” and cast a woman in the lead, and make certain their lead actress has a musical theater background.

The best choice for Peter would be the multi-talented Emmy and Tony Award winning actress/singer Kristin Chenoweth. Ms. Chenoweth is known to TV audiences from her Emmy winning role on the ABC fantasy series “Pushing Daisies,” and from her guest appearances on “Glee.” Kids know her as the original voice of Rosetta the fairy from the Disney Fairies movies. Musical theater fans know and love her from her Broadway roles as Sally Brown in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” and as Glinda in “Wicked.” Ms. Chenoweth is a brilliant comedian and the songs from the show would sound great on her beautiful voice.

An alternative option would be Kristen Bell from Disney’s smash hit animate feature “Frozen.” She’s very popular right now, and the youth-obsessed entertainment industry might prefer her over Kristin Chenoweth, despite the fact that Chenoweth is a more talented and dynamic performer. Ms. Bell would still be able to pull off a better performance than any pop or country music star that NBC might be considering.

Hopefully NBC will reconsider their unfortunate idea to cast a male in the role of Peter. If they do, Daniel Radcliffe would be a fun choice, but that’s never going to happen. Chris Colfer from Glee might be an interesting choice as well. Just please don’t let it be some auto-tuned Disney kid star or Justin Bieber!

At any rate, NBC’s production of “Peter Pan” is currently set to air December 4.

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