Last December, NBC brightened our holiday season with The Sound of Music Live! featuring Carrie Underwood. Reviews may have been somewhat mixed (OK, so it tanked with the critics), but the fact remains: SOML! reached nearly 22 million viewers if you include DVR. People love a good musical.
Here at DS, we'd like to count ourselves among those people (huge surprise, I know). So we were thrilled to find out that the executive producers of the show—Craig Zadan and Neil Meron—are planning another live telecast musical for the 2014 Holiday Season. You guys, Peter Pan Live is coming to town.
On Sunday, NBC made the first casting announcement: Christopher Walken will play Captain Hook. Walken is no stranger to onscreen musical theater. He played John Travolta's husband in the 2007 film adaptation of Hairspray and Gyp DeCarlo in the Clint Eastwood's recently released adaptation of Jersey Boys.
But here's the greatest part: This Captain Hook is gonna tap dance. We're not quite sure how that'll work out (sinister tap dancing? hmmm...), but we're pumped, nonetheless. And just in case you're worried Walken doesn't have the dancing chops to make it work, here's a little reassurance—EPIC-dance-supercut-style (courtesy Huffpost Entertainment).
They're here! They're here! The Olympics are FINALLY HERE!
OK, yes, fine, the Sochi Games officially started yesterday. But tonight we'll get to see the splendiferous opening ceremony. And that makes it all so much more official.
The ceremony is also an opportunity for some pretty serious dancing. (NBC: Let's actually air the dancing this time, OK? Nobody wants a repeat of the London dance debacle.) And the choreographic mastermind behind tonight's sure-to-be-showstopping spectacle is actually a familiar face: Broadway's Daniel Ezralow, best known for his work on Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
Ezralow strikes a pose in Sochi (photo via thewrap.com)
Ezralow told People that he'll be using about 80 professional dancers and hundreds of volunteers to create a performance about "20th-century Russia." Here's the interesting thing: Though his grandfather fled Russia in 1905, Ezralow is pretty far removed from the country these days—he lives in L.A. So we're curious to see what kind of cultural-fusion choreography he's come up with. (We're picturing Bolshoi ballerinas flying through the air, Spider-Man-style...which actually sounds kind of awesome, right?)
Tune in to NBC tonight at 7:30 to see the show!
Waiting for Jennifer Lopez's "World of Dance" to premiere is like waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. On the one hand, the anticipation is part of the fun; on the other, OMG SANTA[/J. LO] JUST GET HERE ALREADY.
We're beyond excited to see what amazingness the NBC show, set to air this spring, has in store for us. And that's only more true now that we've heard the latest "WOD" details. Here's what you need to know:
-And J. Lo herself will also wear several hats: judge, mentor and executive producer. Busy lady.
-Solo dancers will compete alongside duos and crews. Interesting!
-Dance categories will include hip hop, krumping, popping, locking, ballet, breakdancing, ballroom and stomping. Sounds like there'll be more people repping #TeamStreet than #TeamStage.
-The dancers have already been selected. Which means we officially can't audition, sadface.
-The prize, as we've mentioned, will be $1 million dollars. But we're mentioning it again, because ONE. MILLION. DOLLARS.
-And the champion will be called "Best in the World." Fancy!
-There's a brand-new preview out. Take a look:
A video posted by Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) on
World of Dance is the organization that's been giving artists a huge platform (think more than 30 million monthly views on their YouTube and Facebook videos) since 2008. They now also host events and contests around the world. Lopez describes WOD as “an organization that has had an immeasurable impact on the dance community,” and we love that she's bringing all of this dance-love to an even bigger audience on the small screen.
“Dance has always been my passion. It's raw, it's emotional, it's healing," said Lopez in a statement introducing the series. She goes on to describe this show as "Broadcast television's biggest, fiercest, most talent-heavy dance competition ever seen." It's not yet clear whether or not JLo will be making any on-camera appearances throughout the show (but we’re crossing our fingers). Oh, and did we mention that Nappytabs will be involved as well? We’re officially pumped.
It's been a great year for dance on television—ICYMI, World of Dance is actually the second dance show that NBC has approved this year, the first being another dance competition in which Step-Up superstar Jenna Dewan Tatum will executive produce, as well as serve as judge and mentor. Honestly, the limit to the number of dance TV shows needed does not exist, so keep ‘em coming, TV networks!
World of Dance is in the process of casting now. Check out the details here, because who couldn’t use a million dollars and maybe even a chance to meet Jennifer Lopez?!
Here's a delightful development, which makes so much sense we're actually shocked it didn't happen years ago:
NBC has greenlit a dance competition project headed by dancer/actress/expert Paula Abdul lip-syncer Jenna Dewan-Tatum, who'll serve as a judge and mentor for the series. And her hubby Channing, one of our favorite interpreters of the Beyoncé ouevre? Oh, yes: He'll appear on the show, too.
AND EVERY EPISODE WILL OPEN WITH A RE-ENACTMENT OF THIS STEP UP SCENE. (Ideally.)
We don't know a whole lot more about the as-yet-untitled project. But honestly, those snippets of info alone are enough to get all of us #TeamTatum 'shippers on board. (For the three or so of you who aren't yet obsessed with The Family Tatum—may we refer you to this, this and, oh goodness, THIS?)
More to come as we hear it, obviously!
Yup. Me too. WE ARE ALL THAT MUSICAL THEATER OBSESSIVE.
So let's all twist and shout for joy together, because NBC gave us some happy news yesterday: Its next live musical production, coming to a TV near you this December, will be Hairspray—one of the cheeriest, campiest, danciest shows around. A musical about live television, on live television! Love it.
Nikki Blonsky in the 2007 movie version of Hairspray (photo New Line Cinema)
No word yet on casting, etc, but team NBC is apparently open to having John Travolta reprise his role from the 2007 film. So...there's that. (Let's go ahead and bring Zac Efron back while we're at it, shall we? And re-settle Adam Shankman in the director's chair.)
Who'd be in your dream Hairspray cast? Let us know in the comments—and then satisfy your rapidly-intensifying musical theater craving by reading all about Fox's upcoming "Grease: Live" in our January issue.
Thanksgiving has come early, you guys. How so? Let's just say that starting on Monday, you won't have to wait for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to watch the season's hottest Broadway shows in your jammies.
Each morning next week, NBC's "TODAY" news(ish) show will celebrate The Great White Way with live performances by some very exciting celebs. I mean, just take a look at the lineup:
Tuesday: Musical theater goddess Kristin Chenoweth in On the Twentieth Century
Wednesday: Brandy Norwood in Chicago (Yes, Brandy, as in "The Boy Is Mine" and "Moesha," Brandy, who's making her Broadway debut on April 28!)
Thursday: It Shoulda Been You, featuring Tony winner and six-time Emmy winner Tyne Daly
Friday: Something Rotten!, starring Broadway royalty Christian Borle and Brian d'Arcy James
WHY HAVEN'T YOU SET YOUR DVR YET? Watch the "TODAY" preview below, then whip up some stuffing and cranberry sauce. When your brain thinks it's November, you know you're going to crave it.
If you guys are anything like us, you probably caught NBC's "The Sound of Music, LIVE!" when it aired in December 2013. And you probably also watched Peter Pan Live, when it was on this last December. Yes, the shows got some not-so-great reviews, but does that mean we love them any less? Of course not. And does it mean that we're not JUMPING OUT OF OUR SKIN BECAUSE NBC MIGHT DO THE WIZ? Oh, rest assured. We're jumping.
There's not a lot of information out there, but NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt recently gave a press conference where he said that while the network is going forward with The Music Man (which had already been rumored for 2015), it might actually premiere The Wiz first.
Kanye as the Lion! (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for LACMA; still from The Wiz)
And since Greenblatt didn't mention any casting, the creative folks over at Slate went ahead and brainstormed for him. I am 100 percent behind all of their choices, especially the suggestion that Janelle Monáe (only one of my favorite performers, ever) play Dorothy. I also fully support Kanye cast as the Cowardly Lion.
Who do you think NBC should cast? Tell us in the comments below.