Jennifer Lopez Bye Bye Birdie

Jennifer Lopez to Star in NBC's Bye Bye Birdie Live! Musical, Airing in 2017

NBC’s next big musical event is about a musical superstar — and they’ve already got a musical superstar in the cast.

Jennifer Lopez will star in the network’s live production of the beloved musical Bye Bye Birdie — entitled Bye Bye Birdie Live! — NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt announced at a Paley Center event on Thursday. Birdie will be the network’s 2017 live holiday event, following this year’s Hairspray Live! (airing Dec. 7); Lopez will play Rosie, the role that earned Chita Rivera a Tony nomination during the original Broadway run. (Harvey Fierstein will write the teleplay adaptation.)

Birdie takes place in the rock-‘n’-roll ’50s, with pop-idol singer Conrad Birdie preparing to serve in the Army — but he’s holding a contest to give one lucky fan a kiss before he ships out. Along for the ride are Birdie’s songwriter/manager Albert Peterson and his secretary/girlfriend Rosie, who came up with the idea for the contest. Birdie was adapted into a 1963 film starring Dick Van Dyke, Janet Leigh and Ann-Margret as the lucky fan. (ABC also did a TV-movie version in 1995 starring Jason Alexander as Albert.)

Lopez — who will also exec-produce Birdie (alongside producing partners Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Benny Medina, plus the award-winning Craig Zadan and Neil Meron) — is of course already in the NBC family: Season 2 of her cop drama Shades of Blue is slated for midseason, and she’ll be a judge and EP on the upcoming dance competition World of Dance.

Hit the comments, Bye Bye Birdie fans, and play casting director: Who should play Conrad Birdie? And Albert?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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30 Comments
  1. Raul J says:

    What’s nice about “Bye, Bye Birdie” is that the role of Rosie was always a Latina, which was pretty darned rare in the 1950s, without a big issue being made of it, as opposed to “West Side Story” which emphasized racial gang tensions. Of course, there was also Desi Arnaz, but that’s another story.

  2. Steven says:

    I was in Bye Bye Birdie in 8th grade so this should bring back some nice memories

  3. Rob says:

    I think Jennifer Lopez will make a perfect Rosie. Looking forward to seeing who’ll play her Albert. And I hope she can get broadway-specific vocal lessons fine-tune her pipes.

  4. iHeart says:

    wow they’re announcing their next one already? well I hope Hairspray is successful

  5. readenreply says:

    Please cast singers! The 50’s movie version is nice to watch, but painful to listen to!

    • Anna says:

      This one will be painful to listen to with JLo trying to sing Broadway songs. Nice to watch because she’s a great dancer and has good energy, but still painful to listen to.

  6. Maggi says:

    I would love to see Adam Lambert as Conrad Birdie, as for Albert the first male that came to mind was Hugh Jackman, or Mathew Morrison. I can’t wait to see it, one of my most favorite all time films

  7. Jason says:

    She’s great for this role because it requires a lot of dancing as well. Now they’ve got the unenviable task of finding anyone who can compare to Ann-Margret and Dick Van Dyke. Although for markedly different reasons:)

  8. Butch says:

    I wonder if they will modify Albert’s mother to be less racist than in the original play as they did in the movie version.

  9. Maxsmom says:

    Bye Bye Birdie is one of the movie musicals I will always love but the movie was almost completely miscast. You can’t deny Ann-Margaret and Dick Van Dyke and maybe Albert’s mom but everyone else should be an improvement.

    Jamie Foxx as Albert. Drake as Conrad Birdie. Rihanna as Kim. Harry Styles as Hugo. Phylicia Rashad as Albert’s mom. Amy Adams and Diddy as Kim’s parents. Jimmy Fallon and the Tonight Show instead of Ed Sullivan.

  10. cathms says:

    Not sure about the McAfee family or Conrad, but I would love to see Zachary Levi as Albert F. Peterson, with Margo Martindale as his mother.

  11. Leanne says:

    I’ll be sure to watch. It will be great. I also cant wait until Shades of Blue comes back. I believe it was renewed

  12. teeveenerd says:

    I know he isn’t old enough, but I would love to see Billy Eichner as Kim’s dad as I think he would do a great version of “Kids.”

  13. Carol_R says:

    Sounds awful. Jennifer Lopez in my opinion is a horrible, horrible actress.