Last week, NBC aired another live musical on TV - this time of Peter Pan - a musical which I thought I was not familiar with, but as it turns out I was in that so much of what I know about Peter Pan comes from the way the story is told in this show. I watched the 'Making of' special that aired the Thanksgiving week before this, so I was in a way prepared for some of my thoughts and feelings on the actual production. Thankfully they went with an actress who could really pull off the lead with Allison Williams as Peter Pan. There were a few times in the beginning when she sounded out of breath so I attributed that to her not going for some of the big notes in her first couple numbers, but later she was fantastic, and I really enjoyed her overall performance.
Casting-wise they really did a great job in every respect (save one) especially with bringing back Christian Borle (it would be so cool if he was in a role in every NBC live musical production). I thought Christian really subtly nailed both performances of Mr. Darling and Smee. Alanna Saunder's Tiger Lily was excellent too - she was so believable in the role, and I loved how she seemed the perfect leader for the Indians. Mrs. Darling - Kellie O'Hara - geez what a wonderful voice! I wish she was in the production more.
Captain Hook was an interesting choice. On the one hand, I completely understand why they cast Christopher Walken - for the publicity, and the fact that he is a respected actor. But on the other hand, he seemed very flat the whole way through. And even barely committed to the role which was odd since it seemed like he wanted the part. And of course, he can't really sing. But I do love that NBC embraced that and had a couple moments where they simply cut back to the production during commercials to show Capt. Hook still singing and holding that awkward, awful sounding note. It felt like NBC knew that people were tuning in to see how bad this could be, and they had a sense of humor about it. I wouldn't have really minded that he can't sing actually if only Walken had embraced the part more. My private wish was that they got Dustin Hoffman to do it - it would have been fantastic to see him as Hook again. And Dustin's version of Hook just seems perfect for this production.
Overall then, I thought this wasn't a bad or a even a good production. It was just there. I enjoyed the fact that I could see a live musical on TV, but I wish that if they continue this, they don't try to exclusively seek musicals that are so family-oriented. The story and music for this show is okay to me (admittedly I'm not the biggest fan of the story of Peter Pan - although I love the movie Hook, so maybe if it's done right...) I didn't really get the Peter and Wendy dynamic in this musical because Wendy is just being creepy around Peter. And I don't even get why Tiger Lily, Tinkerbell and Wendy are so obsessed with him... He's kind of a brat. The only song that I really enjoyed was "I Won't Grow Up" which is probably going to go into my iTunes library soon. One thing that really surprised me though was how distracted I was by seeing the lines that hoisted people up for flying!
If they do another live musical, I really hope it's a better musical, but I am afraid that since the ratings for this wasn't nearly as good as The Sound of Music last year, they are going to go for another less than talented, but well known lead. Fingers crossed that they will find someone talented enough to carry a live production!