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“The Sound of Music Live!” is a Stunning Success: Which Musical Should NBC Air Next?

The Sound of Music Live

The Sound of Music Live! did so well ratings-wise that it’s no surprise that NBC is looking for another live musical to air next year.

NBC decided to re-air the special on Dec. 14, ensuring the few who didn’t watch it the first time around could catch Carrie Underwood belting out the iconic tunes that Julie Andrews has been delighting audiences with for years. ABC is trying to benefit from the musical madness by airing the Andrews movie on Dec. 22.

Speaking of ABC, one of the characters from its fairy tale TV series, Once Upon a Time, might become the star of NBC’s next live musical. According to USA Today, NBC is already planning another live musical for next year, and Peter Pan is currently the leading candidate.

This isn’t all that shocking since NBC has aired a Peter Pan musical before. According to The New York Times, the 1955 television special attracted 65 million viewers. This might make the 18.6 million who tuned in to see The Sound of Music Live! seem like a small amount, but you have to remember that there wasn’t as much competition on TV back then.

Peter Pan fans might enjoy seeing the beloved character back to being a lovable little scamp after seeing Robbie Kay portray him as a really nasty villain on Once Upon a Time. But who should play him? The 1955 special starred actress Mary Martin, and it would be great if NBC carried on the tradition of casting a woman as the boy who doesn’t want to grow up. The network might even be able to cast an actress from one of its own shows—Parks and Recreation star Kristen Bell would make an amazing Pan.

Bell starred in the Broadway productions The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Crucible, as well as an off-Broadway production of Reefer Madness. She also recently showed off her singing capabilities in the fairy tale movie Frozen. The likable actress definitely has the playfulness need to play a mischievous character like Pan.

However, if NBC wants to cast a male actor as Peter Pan, perhaps the network should pursue Daniel Radcliffe, another star with experience singing onstage. He flew with the help of a magical broom in the Harry Potter movies, so surely he’d love to use a pinch of pixie dust to soar again. It’s just a shame Neil Patrick Harris is too old for the role.

According to “The New York Times,” NBC is thinking about making live musicals an annual event, and the network isn’t just interested in Peter Pan—it’s circling a few “family-friendly Broadway classics with a lot of familiar songs.” Here’s a look at a few other musicals that the network should consider bringing to the small screen:

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella: One Entertainment Weekly writer thinks that NBC needs to make this classic fairy tale its next musical, and this move would make sense since princesses are as popular as ever. The 1957 CBS version of television musical starring Julie Andrews was also a stunning success—it attracted a whopping 107 million viewers. EW would like to see NBC cast another singer like Carrie Underwood in the musical, but the entertainment mag didn’t pick a pop princess to play Cinderella—it chose a queen to play the scullery maid’s fairy godmother. Erin Strecker wrote, “I want NBC to stage a live production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella with Beyoncé as the Fairy Godmother.” So would Taylor Swift get to play Cinderella, and would Kanye West interrupt the production to let the world know that he has a problem with this casting choice? Kristin Chenoweth would also make an amazing fairy godmother, and singer/actress Ariana Grande would be an adorable Cinderella. She even has experience playing a princess, as she was Snow White in the Pasadena Playhouse production of A Snow White Christmas.

Mary Poppins: Here’s another Julie Andrews musical that NBC should consider. The movie Saving Mr. Banks might renew the public’s interest in Poppins, and the choice to play the magical nanny should be fairly obvious—Emma Thompson could go from portraying the creator of the character to playing Poppins herself. Thompson also played a similar nanny character in Nanny McPhee.

Annie: NBC could bring back one of the adorable young Sound of Music Live! stars to play this iconic orphan. After her villainous role in the Harry Potter movies, wild-haired actress Helena Bonham Carter would make an excellent Miss Hannigan. And who wouldn’t want to see lovable thespian Patrick Stewart as Daddy Warbucks? It’s also easy to imagine Glee actress Lea Michele as the billionaire’s kindly secretary. The only downside of picking this play is that it will undoubtedly be compared to the modernized movie version of Annie starring Quvenzhané Wallis and Jamie Foxx. The film hits theaters next December.

Would you like to see Peter Pan or any of the other Broadway musicals above on TV, or is there another family-friendly play that you want NBC to bring to the small screen?

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Treva Bowdoin is a freelance writer who loves crazy comedies and creepy shows like "The Walking Dead" and "American Horror Story".

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