After the success of The Sound of Music Live!, Peter Pan Live!, The Wiz Live! as well as the current, eager anticipation for Hairspray Live!, NBC listed Bye Bye Birdie as its next live TV adaptation.
(READ: Kristin Chenoweth in NBC’s Hairspray Live!)
As if that’s not a source of excitement, they announced that Jennifer Lopez will star in this 2017 holiday musical event!
Bob Greenblatt, NBC’s Entertainment chairman, has this to say about Lopez’s casting, “To have a superstar like Jennifer Lopez starring in this classic show, which every high school in America has done, will ensure that our holiday musicals continue to be must-see events for the whole family.”
Bye Bye Birdie is the story of an Elvis Presley-inspired rock star in the 1950s who was suddenly drafted into the Army. His manager, Albert Peterson is upset – and as a last-ditch effort for a publicity stunt, he and his secretary-girlfriend Rosie, came up with an idea to record a new song and give a member of Birdie’s fan club a real last kiss before going to the army.
According to Time.com, Lopez will play Rose “Rosie” Alvarez, the secretary-girlfriend who has to endure the tendency to racism of Albert’s mother. The role was taken on by Chita Rivera in the original Broadway production, and by Janet Leigh in the 1963 flim adaptation.
She states that Broadway musicals and films fueled her childhood, “and Bye Bye Birdie was one of my favorites. I’m proud to be a part of the NBC family with Shades of Blue and I thought it would be a blast to take on one of their big live musicals.”
Shades of Blue is a crime procedural shown in NBC, where Lopez also appears.
Bye Bye Birdie’s book was written by Michael Stewart (Carnival!, Hello, Dolly!) with lyrics and music by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse respectively. In the live TV production, NBC signed up Harvey Fierstein to adapt the book for television.
Fierstein also stars as Edna Turnblad in the upcoming Hairspray Live! set to air on December 7th at 8pm Eastern Time on NBC.