NBC today announced that its 2017 holiday live musical will be the Tony Award-winning “Bye Bye Birdie,” which will star Jennifer Lopez as Rosie, the lovestruck secretary (played by Janet Leigh in the 1963 feature film) to a bumbling songwriter/talent manager named Albert (played by Dick Van Dyke in both a Tony-winning Broadway turn and the film).
The movie musical, based on the play with a book by Michael Stewart, lyrics by Lee Adams and music by Charles Strouse, also launched the career of Ann-Margret, who starred as a Sweet Apple, Ohio, 1950s teenager selected from millions of girls across the country to bestow one last kiss on a just-drafted sexy rock and roller (hello, Elvis). Rival network ABC aired a made-for-TV movie of the musical in 1995 starring Jason Alexander and Vanessa Williams. The most recent Broadway production starred John Stamos and Gina Gershon in 2009. “Put on a Happy Face” became the musical’s breakout hit.
“Birdie” is the latest in NBC’s now-yearly, ratings-grabbing live musicals, which have included “The Sound of Music” (2013), “Peter Pan” (2014) and “The Wiz” (2015). This year’s musical will be “Hairspray Live!,” airing Dec. 7 on the network, which will star Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande and Harvey Fierstein.
“Broadway musicals and films fueled my childhood and ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ was one of my favorites,”said Lopez in today’s official announcement.
Lopez will also serve as an executive producer for the television special.