by: Maggie Loyal
Christopher Walken has signed on to play Captain Hook in NBC’s live, on-stage adaptation of PETER PAN. This isn’t the first time NBC has brought J. M. Barrie’s beloved book to the small screen. In 1955, the network aired a live version of Broadway production starring Tony winners Mary Martin and Cyril Richard, a special that brought in 65 million viewers. For comparison, this year’s Superbowl set a record with 111.5 million viewers. The upcoming musical comes from Universal TV with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (“Hairspray”) producing.
Broadcasting live musical specials is becoming a hot new (or rather, returning) trend. Last year, NBC’s staging of “The Sound of Music” pulled in 18.6 million viewers and a 4.6 rating during its first airing. Not to be left behind, Fox (home of “Glee”) will be putting on “Grease Live,” with a planned airing for 2015.
The Oscar-winning actor is certainly no stranger to song and dance, having a long history with musicals. Trained as as a dancer in music theatre at the Washington Dance Studio, he tap-danced in Herbert Ross’s 1981 musical “Pennies From Heaven” and more recently sang and danced his way through the on-screen adaptation of “Hairspray,” (which was produced by Zadan and Meron). His fleet-footed talents were introduced to a whole new audience in 2001 when he was featured in Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” music video (remember those?) where he danced his way through the four-minute song. And just this year he was seen in Clint Eastwood’s big screen version of “Jersey Boys.”
Walken is repped by ICM.