After ratings like this, there is no doubt that conversations at NBC are already underway in regards to next year’s live musical broadcast. Despite the varied reviews, producer Neil Meron brought home the bacon with The Sound Of Music Live! starring Carrie Underwood, and a bevy of Broadway stars. So what will it take to do it again? Producers are no doubt looking for a well-known, family friendly musical that hasn’t been seen in a while, that they can easily insert a mainstream artist (such as Ms. Underwood.) Understanding that a film version of the musical Into The Woods (starring Meryl Streep), and a confusing remake of Annie are already underway; we can take those off the list.
There are only a handful of classic musicals that might fit-the-bill, and U.B has “short-listed’ them for you:
1. Guys and Dolls.
A film version of Guys and Dolls has been heavily discussed in the past couple of years. Action star Vin Diesel has been the most recent star connected the project. We are also sure that audiences would love to see Nathan Lane reprise his Tony nominated turn as “Nathan Detroit”.
2. Bye Bye Birdie
Though a television version of Bye Bye Birdie was released back in 1995 starring Jason Alexander, new family audiences are definately ready for a newer, hipper version of the 1960’s classic. Nick Jonas, or Cheyenne Jackson as “Conrad Birdie”, anyone?
It has been well-over 30 years since audiences have seen a film version of the Broadway smash Grease, and we can see many young stars of today plugged into the roles. At this rate, Justin Bieber may be needing some serious PR repair work by next year. Can you picture a Bieber “Danny” and Selena Gomez “Sandy”? Why the heck not?!
4. My Fair Lady
Four years ago, actress Keira Knightley was tapped for the role of Eliza Doolittle in a film remake of My Fair Lady. But we haven’t heard anything since. So it is looking like this classic might be up for grabs as well!
5. Hello Dolly!
Names like Bette Midler and Kristen Chenoweth have recently been bandied about for the revival of this classic Jerry Herman show Hello Dolly!, but if those ladies have too much on their plates, then why couldn’t one of them do a television special of the Broadway hit?
6. The Wizard Of Oz
There has never been a film, or television remake of the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz. But, NBC would need to beef up the technical elements for a live television version of this piece. And, to pull it off, would be an amazing live event. Jackie Evancho as “Dorothy”, plus other special guests would make this the 2014 television event of the season. Jane Lynch as the “Wicked Witch” perhaps?!
7. West Side Story
There hasn’t been a recent film, or television remake of the classic West Side Story. The book, and musical numbers would translate beautifully to a television version, and any number of young, hip stars could be plugged in to the roles of star-crossed lovers “Tony” and “Maria”.
8. Singin’ In The Rain
Though, not originally a Broadway musical, until 1986, Singin’ In The Rain is a quintessential family musical that could definitely use some new life breathed in to it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, or Justin Timberlake would be dream choices for the Gene Kelly role of “Don Lockwood”.
9. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Donny Osmond may have filmed his version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for DVD release back in 1999, but family audiences are ready for a new, revamped version of the Andrew Lloyd-Webber classic. American Idol star Clay Aiken starred in a recent version in Maine this last summer, and either Aiken or a number of other current pop stars could easily be put in the role of “Joseph”, with plenty of cameos available for a plethora of Broadway stars. Kelly Clarkson as the “Narrator”, anyone?
10. Little Shop Of Horrors
Though not as “family friendly” as the rest of the list, Little Shop Of Horrors is our “wild card” pick for our NBC musical short-list. With a massive cult following, and fabulous Alan Menken pop score, ‘Little Shop’ would make a perfect television remake. Lets bring the Jim Henson peeps back in to work some magic, and why not Steve Martin to reprise his role as “Orin The Dentist”?!
11. Peter Pan
Peter Pan was taped for television in 1954 with star Mary Martin, but any number of stars could play the boy who “Won’t Grow Up”. Can you see Taylor Swift in a pixie cut?
12. The King And I
With a beautiful Rodgers and Hammerstein score, multi-ethnic story line, and bunch of adorable children. The King And I finishes our “short list” as a potentially perfect fit for NBC’s live musical broadcast for next year. Why not bring back recent DWTS dancer Lou Diamond-Phillips, who starred in the 1996 revival to reprise his role?