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?