Peter Pan Will Be NBC's Next Live Television Musical Event

By Adam Hetrick
January 19, 2014

Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced Jan. 19 that the 1954 Broadway musical Peter Pan will be their next live holiday television event for NBC.



Set to air Dec. 4, Peter Pan follows Zadan and Meron's ratings smash The Sound of Music Live!, which was viewed by 22 million viewers when it aired this past December.

Executive producers Zadan and Meron previously told Playbill.com that the live television broadcasts of Peter Pan, which starred Mary Martin, inspired them to pitch The Sound of Music Live! to NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt. Coincidentally, both original Broadway productions starred Tony Award winner Mary Martin.

Casting is currently underway. The musical, and our picks for casting, was among Playbill Picks: Our Wish List for NBC's Next Live Television Musical.

Based on the J.M. Barrie play, Peter Pan has music by Morris Charlap and Jule Styne, with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. It features such songs as "I'm Flying," "I've Gotta Crow," "I Won't Grow Up" and "Never Never Land."

Peter Pan originally opened Oct. 20, 1954, at the Winter Garden Theatre. Both Martin and Cyril Ritchard, who starred as Peter and Captain Hook, respectively, earned Tony Awards for their performances. The musical gained popularity nationwide thanks to television broadcasts with the original stars in 1955, 1956 and 1960, which also featured Martin in the title role. 

The 1955 premiere broadcast of Peter Pan was watched by 65 million viewers, the highest rating for a single night program at the time. The 1960 broadcast marked the first time a musical was broadcast in color on television. 

"We're very pleased to be underway on Peter Pan as our next live holiday musical for the whole family," Greenblatt said in a statement. "We were all delighted to see how The Sound of Music Live! struck such a chord in December and brought nearly 19 million people to the live telecast plus another several million viewers over the weekend. In the hopes that lightning strikes twice, we think we’ve landed on another great Broadway musical — which ironically also starred Mary Martin — that is a timeless classic for all audiences, young and old, who just never want to grow up."

"We're thrilled to be reteaming with NBC and Bob Greenblatt in bringing Peter Pan back to its roots as a live television event," Zadan and Meron said in a statement. "We hope to create the joy that has made this musical so beloved. We would like a whole new generation to experience Peter Pan and for families across the country to share the magic."

Peter Pan, a staple for high school and community theatre organizations for decades, was recently acquired by the licensing company Music Theatre International.