NBC has had some solid ratings success with its live musical productions, ranging from the Carrie Underwood-starring “The Sound of Music” to last year’s “The Wiz”, and the network announced today that 2017’s musical production will be iconic Broadway hit “Bye Bye Birdie”.
The role of Rosie (played by Janet Leigh in the 1963 film version) will be played by Jennifer Lopez, and the former “American Idol” judge will also serve as executive producer. Tony-winner Harvey Fierstein (who’ll be seen in December reprising his Broadway role in NBC’s production of “Hairspray”) has been tapped to adapt the musical for television.
“To have a superstar like Jennifer Lopez starring in this classic show, which every high school in America has done, will ensure that our holiday musicals continue to be must-see events for the whole family,” said NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt. “It was her idea to take on this classic singing and dancing role made famous by the legendary Chita Rivera, and we are so happy to oblige! This show has delighted audiences for generations with classic songs that include ‘Put on a Happy Face’ and ‘A Lot of Livin’ to Do,’ and this will be an extravagant production built around this big star.”
Added Lopez: “Broadway musicals and films fuelled my childhood and ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ was one of my favourites. I’m proud to be a part of the NBC family with ‘Shades of Blue’ and I thought it would be a blast to take on one of their big live musicals.”
“Bye Bye Birdie” took Broadway by storm in 1960, starring Dick Van Dyke (who later reprised the role in the film) as a songwriter/record exec who envisions a huge publicity stunt when hip-swivelling teen idol Conrad Birdie is drafted into the army, promising to give a last kiss to one lucky girl before he ships out.
“Bye Bye Birdie” will air in December 2017; expect more casting news in the months to come.
Following the announcement, JLo shared a video message on Twitter: