Maybe it would have helped if the producers of Peter Pan did the "black" version, like they did for Hello Dolly and Pearl Bailey in the late 70's-early 80's. It definitely needed something. Look, I am over-the-top pro-musical lover. I never want to be harshly critical so that NBC doesn't continue to do live musicals. Bringing musical theatre to the masses is a fantastic idea. Love, love, love it, but how in the hell can you decide to produce Peter Pan and do it on a school night from 8-11????? That is so ridiculous. Craig Zaden and Neil Meron should be producing live musicals for the night before Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving itself and begin a new family tradition. If they don't want to "waste" it on a holiday weekend, for god's sake, perform it live on a Friday night or start it earlier. What kid in elementary school can stay up until 11pm? It was hard enough in my home and I wanted to watch it.
However, they didn't make it easy for viewing. Peter Pan isn't a great musical, but it has some tug-at-your-heart-string songs that if you grew up with Mary Martin or Sandy Duncan will always get you. Allison Williams was a curious choice for Peter Pan. Not a high profile choice and not from the Broadway stage. Her father, Brian Williams, is the known entity to America. She was serviceable to good. Very likable, but not a big wow. The Wendy was long in the tooth and had the teeth to bear that out. I can't believe there isn't a teenage Broadway starlet that could've done more justice to the role. The large male company of pirates and lost boys were all very good and definitely came from the land of Newsies. I am a huge fan of Kelly O'Hara and she didn't disappoint, but if we were going to cast actors too old for the parts, she may as well have played Wendy....Christian Borle was a new twist to Smee and probably would've made a great Hook but....
Christopher Walken cast as the villain, Captain Hook, was, on paper,seemed like a coup, but it didn't make it to the screen. He is too old. I can't believe that I am saying it, but he is. He is 71 and too old to play Captain Hook on the small screen. He looked pasty and wrinkled. Maybe if his portrayal was outrageously fantastic, it would have been overlooked, but it wasn't. He hardly came to life. At times, he looked like he was reading his lines. He looked down a lot. He came to life, slightly, when he got to dance. Maybe he was tired. I sure was. Can you imagine them hiring Glenn Close to play Peter Pan? It would never happen. She's "too old."
What they decided to do to the Ugg-a-Wug song was so dumb. I can't believe that we have become so PC, that they had to modify the Ugg-a-Wug to basically oy-vey. I really don't know what they were singing but, come on, it's a silly little song. The songs that were added, shouldn't have been. They didn't add, but seemed that the actors were contractually given "moments" so they'd do the musical. Those unmemorable songs just highlighted how draggy the production was. It never should've been 3 hours. Too many WalMart commercials.
Though from a production stand point it looked beautiful and fantastical, I can't believe that you can still see the cables for flying. It is 2014 and there are no invisible cables that can help make the magic magic? It was so awkward and odd in this day and age not to have a more high tech answer for flying than Flying by Foy. It bunched up just like it does in any stage production under the actors' costumes. Really? That really surprised me. If they couldn't do better than that, maybe this wasn't the right musical to pick....
I can't go more in depth because I felt nothing, really. I was sitting in my chair thrilled in the beginning. I love the opening of Peter Pan when Pan and Tinkerbell first show up, but 90 minutes into it...I was bored. They should have picked up the pace, cut the new songs, and been done. They could have bought back the local time and started this three hour production at 7pm. It was the wrong musical to choose. There are so many great scores and stories. Curious why they'd pick Peter Pan for their second outing. Anyway, it wasn't unbearable, please don't think that's what I am saying, but I love, love, love musical theatre and I want it to be introduced to the masses so they will hunger for more.
Sidebars: I can't even call this a sidebar, but an after thought. My last RantsandRuminations was prior to the Eric Garner Grand Jury decision. I'm sure you all know by now, but the Grand Jury, again, decided, not to indict the police officer that killed Eric Garner. There have been many protests in the streets since that happened, disrupting traffic everywhere. Largely, peaceful protests. More will continue. Maybe the Grand Jury system needs to be revisited. More another day, I'm sure on this. It's Friday. Enjoy your weekend, hug your family and friends, let go of the bad, and hold on tight to the good.
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