10 Best Things About Peter Pan Live!
Last night, NBC aired a live version of the musical Peter Pan starring Alison Williams (of Girls and Brian Williams fame) and Christopher Walken (of Cowbell fame). Although the musical didn’t get the same smashing ratings that Sound of Music Live! got last year, the reviews have been more encouraging. Here are the 10 things that stood out from the production (in my opinion).
1. Kelli O’Hara
I have been a fan of Kelli O’Hara since I first listened to the Light in the Piazza soundtrack about ten years ago. Since then, she has been nominated for five Tony Awards and has positioned herself as one of Broadway’s leading ladies. It’s great to see her on television. She played the mother; and although her role was small, her voice is golden and her performance of “Tender Shepherd” was a highlight.
2. Christian Borle
Like last year’s Sound of Music production, the respected stage actors stood out the most. Christian Borle, who was in last year’s production, did an awesome job playing two roles: the father and Mr. Smee. Honestly, the production would have been stronger if he had played Captain Hook but…only good thoughts here. Also…his arms! Who knew? That is all.
3. Taylor Louderman
A recent Broadway musical I am a huge fan of is Bring it On: The Musical. It’s like one part In the Heights, and another part Legally Blonde. So, when I heard that original cast member Taylor Louderman would be playing Wendy Darling, I was excited because I believe this is a nice splash of exposure for a talented performer. Part of me thought Louderman might be a bit too old for the role, but Louderman looked and sounded young; and she did a great job.
4. Alison Williams
OK. I finally got to Alison Williams. Y’all thought I would say something snarky about her. Well, you’re wrong! For such a big, physically demanding role, Williams did a really nice job. At some moments during the second act, it seemed like she was losing a bit of steam. And, yeah, her English accent wasn’t perfect. But, overall, I enjoyed her subtle, yet spirited performance. And she has a surprisingly good singing voice.
5. The Company
This production was chock-full dance breaks…and I was digging them all. I particularly enjoyed the “I Won’t Grow Up” number. From the pirates to the Native Americans to the Lost Boys, the mostly male company really worked hard. Shout out to So You Think You Can Dance alum Alex Wong!
6. “I’m Flying”
Although I wasn’t familiar with this musical adaptation before the NBC production, I always enjoyed watching the Tony award performance of “I’m Flying” starring Cathy Rigby. So, it was this number that I was most looking forward to. While the flying seemed a bit limiting compared to the Tony performance, I still thoroughly enjoyed this part, even if the strings were mad visible.
AKA the dog. I’m impressed by how trained the dog was. He/she was literally holding Kelli O’Hara’s hand during her final solo. It’s the best performance by a dog since Uggie from The Artist.
8. The Sets
This production seemed to have twice as many unique sets as Sound of Music, which isn’t a slight against SOM (there’s not much more that production could have done.) Seeing the actors seamlessly transition from one set to the other makes me wish I was actually there to see the behind the scenes. Also, the cinematography was quite nice this time around. Like Caroline Siede writes in her AV Club review of the show, there was actually movement with the cameras, allowing for the production to have a real cinematic feel.
Because she was darn right sassy in the beginning. Wendy didn’t deserve to be called an “ass…” but I still laughed. And, yes, I clapped. I’m not sure why I did…but I did.
10. The Ending
I might have squeezed out a couple tears at the very end when Peter Pan meets a grown up Wendy (played by Minnie Driver) and her young, enthusiastic daughter Jane (played quite wonderfully by newcomer Caitlin Houlahan). Yes, it is slightly creepy that Wendy just allows her daughter to fly away with Peter (although not as implausible as the Darling parents adopting twelve Lost Boys because…what’s 12 more??) But, the book actually made feel emotional when I first read it and the musical did not fail me. And, again, the little actress who played Jane was really good despite only like 5 lines of dialogue.
Oh! And the tweets during the show were great particularly this…
Watching a grown woman play an adolescent boy is perhaps the most sexually confusing moment of my life. #PeterPanLive
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) December 5, 2014
There are only two women in #PETERPANLIVE and they’re both Christopher Walken
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) December 5, 2014
Thanks for reading!