Musicals for Television

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of announcements about live musical television events. These events have become quite popular over the last few years. Millions of people tune in at the same moment to experience these live events together.  We decided to compile a list of all the newly announced productions.

Rent

Photo taken from the 2005 Film Rent

FOX has announced a live musical production of the groundbreaking, Tony Award-, Grammy Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical RENT. Acclaimed film, television and theater producer Marc Platt (GREASE: LIVE, “La La Land,” “Wicked”), along with the estate of writer/composer Jonathan Larson, will executive-produce the event. Additional details and auspices to be announced.

A Christmas Story

Photo taken from the 1983 film

The production, which will air this December, will be based on the Broadway musical version of the beloved film of the same name. Marc Platt, who previously collaborated with Fox on “Grease: Live,” will executive produce along with Adam Siegel, with Jonathan Tolins and Robert Cary co-executive producing and writing. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, recent Tony Award nominees for the musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” and lyricists of “La La Land’s” Academy Award-winning song, “City of Stars,” also scored “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” and will compose several new songs for the live television event. It will be produced by Warner Horizon Unscripted Television.

Bye Bye Birdie

Photo taken from the 1963 film

NBC has set its next live musical with Jennifer Lopez on board to star. Lopez will executive produce with Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Benny Medina, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and her company Nuyorican Productions will produce with Universal Television. Harvey Fierstein will write the television adaptation, with the special slated to air in December, 2017.

Jesus Christ Superstar

King Herod’s Song from the 1973 film

NBC is adding to its live production repertoire with Jesus Christ Superstar, scheduled for Easter Sunday 2018.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, who created the rock opera that premiered on Broadway in 1971, will be executive producers, joining Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who have produced a number of live productions for NBC in recent years including The Sound of MusicPeter PanThe Wiz and HairsprayBye Bye Birdie, with Jennifer Lopez, is due in December.

The Little Mermaid

Screen capture from the 1989 film

The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live! will premiere this fall on ABC, in what the network describes as a “hybrid television experience” that will include both live-action and animated performances. The Little Mermaid Live! event will run for two hours total and feature the original score from the animated film, with songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.

The cast of the upcoming special has yet to be announced, but a release from ABC promises a roster of celebrity artists “whose performances will weave seamlessly throughout the original animated film.” It remains to be seen whether every role will be recast for the event (what would a live-action version of Sebastian the Crab look like? DISCUSS!) and how the producers intend to combine those performances with original material from the 1989 movie.

Which live event has been your favorite so far? Which musicals would you like to see live on Television in the future?

 

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