NBC-TV has announced that its 2017 holiday live Broadway musical broadcast will be Bye Bye Birdie Live! and its star will be pop songstress Jennifer Lopez, according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter.
She will sing the Charles Strouse/Lee Adams score, which includes “Spanish Rose” for her, and “Put on a Happy Face” for her yet-unnamed leading man. The musical satirizes an Elvis Presley-like pop star who tries to make one last splash before being drafted into the army. The musical ran a year and a half in its original 1960 Broadway engagement, which starred Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke. The 1963 movie version starred Van Dyke, Janet Leigh, and Ann-Margret. The show, which features a large cast of teens, has become a favorite of school groups.
Contacted for comment by Playbill.com, Rivera replied, “Birdie is an amazing, joyous 50s era musical with a tremendous score and characters. It’s meant to make you feel good…couldn’t be more timely. I call it the Technicolor musical! I hope they do the ‘Shriner’s Ballet.’ Have fun, JLo. You’ll love Rosie.”
Rivera referred to the fact that some productions cut a big dance number, “Shriner’s Ballet,” which was created for her. Harvey Fierstein will adapt Michael Stewart’s libretto for the 2017 broadcast. Multiple Tony winner Fierstein also adapted and will co-star in NBC’s upcoming 2016 holiday live musical, Hairspray Live!, set for broadcast December 7.