Girls Star Allison Williams Lands Lead in NBC's Peter Pan Live!

Peter Pan Cast Allison Williams

Girls star and classically trained singer Allison Williams has been cast as the iconic title character in NBC’s Peter Pan Live!

The live musical will be broadcast on Thursday, Dec. 4.

“We couldn’t be happier that Allison Williams is our Peter Pan,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement. “She’s a lovely rising star on the award-winning show Girls — where she occasionally shows off her incredible vocal talent — and we think she will bring the perfect blend of ‘boyish’ vulnerability and bravado to save the day against Christopher Walken’s powerful Captain Hook.”

Said Williams of her high-flying role: “I have wanted to play Peter Pan since I was about three years old, so this is a dream come true.

“And besides,” she added, “what could go wrong in a live televised production with simultaneous flying, sword fighting and singing?”

UPDATE: Williams later shared on Instagram a photo of her young self as Pan:

Earlier this month at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour, Greenblatt shared that NBC’s second live musical endeavor — following last year’s boffo hit The Sound of Music Live!, which drew nearly 19 million total viewers — had eyed Kristen Bell for the lead, but scheduling conflicts cut that conversation short.

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  1. Parker says:

    Oh, that seems like an interesting choice!
    I really like her, but i hate the series girls and the character she plays there. So I’m excited to see her in something else :)
    looking forward to it now!

  2. AJ says:

    Daughter of NBC news anchor get lead role in NBC’s live musical. Nothing wrong here.

    • rawley says:

      At least Carrie Underwood, while terrible, made some sort of sense because you could argue she would draw in viewers. You cannot argue that here, most people don’t even know who she is.

      • Ann says:

        It’s okay that she’s not a big name star. They already have Christopher Walken. I’m interested in hearing him sing and dance. Besides, they could cast someone well-known as Wendy.

      • J.Norman says:

        I think that you are absolutely right.
        A combination of 3 things made the Sound of Music a surprise success last December.
        1) The SOM itself has always been a beloved drawing card.
        2) Carrie Underwood was very well known and very well liked
        3) The show itself had relatively little competition being aired after November sweeps (NBC did not have too much confidence in it at the time. It caught NBC by surprise as well as everyone else)

        Peter Pan – while certainly well known – has been done multiple times before and will not be the drawing card SOM was.
        The actress is not nearly as well known.
        Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think PP will be a bust, but it will not reach the levels that SOM did

    • kate'shomesick says:

      Daughter of NBC news anchor doesn’t get lead role in NBC’s live musical though she is physically, vocally, actingwise completely qualified and has a (smaller) fanbase because producers don’t wnt tot be accused of favoritism. Nothing wrong there either.

  3. rawley says:

    Somehow I didn’t think they could do any worse than the casting of Carrie Underwood in Sound of Music. This is absolutely worse.

    • Drew says:

      I enjoyed Underwood’s performance. Was it perfect? No. But I have seen so much worse.

      • Tangerine Green says:

        I still don’t get the hate for Carrie Underwood in The Sound of Music. She was pretty good…but Stephen Moyer was absolutely horrible and I think that Ashley Williams will be pretty bad. She doesn’t seem very likeable or marketable.

        • Drew says:

          I think that at some point, part of the fun for some people was about bashing. I enjoyed the whole show and found myself cheering on the actors, especially when they didn’t have a lot of experience.

        • Jess says:

          Uhhh Carrie’s acting was bad. Stephen was so much better. Obviously you’re into bad acting…

  4. Jack says:

    Who still watches NBC?

  5. t.w.123 says:

    Nepotism at it’s finest, I suppose.

  6. Drew says:

    They should have gotten a young boy. Using a woman works on stage when the audience is far away, but on camera with closeups? At that point it’s just a chick dressed like Green Arrow.

    • serrae says:

      This isn’t the first time the musical Peter Pan has been televised and when it was done before it was also a woman in the lead- Mary Martin. It’s tradition for the show. Why would they change that now?

      • Drew says:

        Yeah, and I loved the Mary Martin version when I was a kid. But that was what? 1960? This is 2014, with HDTV. What blended together back then pops out now. And the production itself (if anything like one last year) will be far more involved.
        Peter Pan has used a woman most of the time because that’s how it’s done on stage. On stage, the audience is far away. The perspective is different. You can get away with a lot. But this isn’t stage. This is on-camera. This is close up. You can’t expect the audience to suspend disbelief to the point of believing that a 26 year old woman is a young boy, usually depicted as somewhere around 10 years old (sometimes skewing up or down a couple of years).

        • Simon Jester says:

          This is a staging OF THE SHOW. Casting a boy instead of a girl means that EVERY SONG will have to be rescored and reharmonized… which would just be stupid.

          • Ginger says:

            Every song has to be tweaked anyway. Not all women sing alike. And its stupider to have a grown woman onstage pretending to be a tweenage boy than slightly changing the songs.

        • Ginger says:

          I really don’t understand when they couldn’t get a boy for this role either. Its going to look so stupid.

        • Davey Elmer says:

          “Every song has to be tweaked anyway. Not all women sing alike.”

          Mary Martin, the woman for whom the musical’s score was composed and who originated the role on Broadway, was an Alto, so unless Ms. Williams isn’t an Alto, the songs are not going to have to be tweaked all that much, not the way that they would for a man.

  7. Jenna says:

    I’m actually excited about this! Such a departure from her character on Girls. Hope she’s up for the challenge. Break a leg, Allison!

  8. Laura says:

    Hmmm…I don’t hate it. I think it could definitely go either way but I’m rooting for her.

  9. Ian says:

    I don’t even really know how to react to this, tbh. I think having Peter played by a woman is kind of gimmicky in this day and age, and Allison’s just going to be rather bizarro in the role. A flying pretty girl that sounds and sings like a girl, in a bad wig, playing a guy. Yeah. OK.

    Carrie Underwood’s acting turned out to have a trainwreck kind of quality that made the first live musical really memorable, so maybe they’re going for something that’s going to make for a freak draw this time too. I have to guess that they’re doing this on purpose for ratings.

    • Larc says:

      Peter Pan has historically been played by a woman, although I’ve never been able to see the logic. The first Broadway production of it in 1905 starred Maude Adams in the role of Peter.

      • Drew says:

        The logic is that you can get away with more on stage, which is far away. Adults can play children, and they use them because you can do stuff with adults that you can’t usually do with a kid (throw them over the audience on a wire, or whatever). But as I said above, this isn’t stage, so it doesn’t make any sense at all. And now they will have to cast adults in the other young roles, just so she doesn’t look completely ridiculous as the only adult playing a kid.
        The kids did a great job in The Sound of Music last year. They should have given this to a kid.

        • S. says:

          No they shouldn’t. The person playing Peter Pan has to have some sort of notoriety as well as a lot of professional experience (you’re trusting they’ll pull off live tv with a large viewership without screwing up so it helps to have seasoning that most kids probably won’t have at that age) and actual acting ability. Allison Williams may not have the following of Carrie Underwood, but you can trust her to do the role. You know how often kids come along that are talented enough as actors to pull off something like this? They’re rare. Most of the time you get stiff stage-parented youngsters that are too over the top. It’s hard enough for them to cast Annie. NBC doesn’t have time to do some nationwide talent search only to have to make it work somehow if things get screwy–even then it wouldn’t be ready in time. If you cast a woman you get someone who’s generally small but still bigger than the kids, with a voice you don’t have to worry about cracking. Casting a boy the right type might backfire if he hits puberty.

  10. Juju says:

    I think she’s kind of a bizarre choice. Her voice is ok, but kind of nasal in the available clips. She doesn’t look “boyish” like the women before who who played the role and she doesn’t appear to have anything on her resume which would indicate she can handle the flying part of the job. But I guess we’ll see. What other Mary Martin roles can we put on TV with bland celebrities who’ve never done Broadway? Oh, and Christopher Walken doing Hook live sounds pretty scary as well.

  11. Tran says:

    Really never watched Girls my entire life but I definitely like that choice. Allison Williams the daughter of NBC news anchor Brian Williams is a perfect fit for the role of Peter Pan.

  12. Et al says:

    Can you imagine how many names had to be crossed off the list before they got down to ‘the news guy’s kid?

  13. KC says:

    Well, I WAS excited for Peter Pan, now – not so much. Can you say ‘train wreck’? Good job for ruining this before it even airs.

  14. Fran says:

    Interesting choice. I’ll think I’ll actually watch it and give her a chance first before placing judgement.

  15. jo jo jo says:

    Umm no Thank you

  16. James says:

    It’s a shame Chris Colfer is on Fox because he would have been perfect for the role

  17. Ally Oop says:

    Carrie Underwood brought the eyeballs to Sound of Music. Not sure this girl is a big enough name to attract an audience plus I’m not sure a female lead for Peter Pan is a smart idea for television–most people are more familiar with the Disney animated movie than with theatrical tradition of the show.

    • Scott says:

      Allison does not have to bring in the eyeballs, that is why they announced Christopher Walken first. He is going to be the star and face of the show. And do not underestimate the familiarity of the stage show, it probably has been put on by every high school drama department every couple years. Not to mention the first time NBC aired Peter Pan Live (with a female lead) it was their most watched show ever up to that point.

  18. Margaery says:

    Even though Carrie Underwood’s acting was stiff, The Sound of Music was still fun to watch because it’s good material. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical the same year that Gypsy was in the running. So given a talented supporting cast, watching it was enjoyable despite the star.
    Peter Pan, on the other hand, isn’t that good a show to begin with. Add in the cringe-inducing acting choices that come from adults trying to portray children (watching Kathleen Nolan try to act like a 12 year old girl was as awkward as watching Mary Martin try to be a little boy), the entirely racist portrayal of Native Americans, and the songs- blech. Casting actors closer to the character’s ages would have made the already poor show less awkward. And if they can get 3 boys to sing soprano in Billy Elliot, there are boys who can sing Peter’s part, it’s alto.

    • Davey Elmer says:

      The male equivalent to Alto is Countertenor, so I’m not sure why you think a Boy Soprano could sing the role of Peter.

  19. K says:

    I feel sorry for her. No matter what gig she gets, idiots will say it’s nepotism. Not the fact she’s a pretty great singer, or she’s starring on a hugely talked about show, and does a good job on it too. I’m really excited to see her in this role.

  20. KC says:

    Colfer would have drawn more viewers than this chick. I was looking forward to this, but I won’t be watching. Too bad she couldn’t get a job without pushing her name around.

  21. CBWBDK1 says:

    Is this a joke?