Look who's singing, too: More TV musicals

  • Article by: NEAL JUSTIN and GRAYDON ROYCE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 14, 2013 - 6:00 PM

More live TV musicals? Here are some ideas to build on the success of NBC's “Sound of Music.” What are your ideas? Let us know in the comments or by email.

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THE SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE! -- Rehearsal -- Pictured: (l-r) Ariane Rinehart as Liesl, Carrie Underwood as Maria, Joe West as Kurt, Sophia Anne-Caruso as Brigitta, and Michael Nigro as Friedrich.

Photo: Paul Drinkwater/NBC,

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NBC is back in the Broadway business. After its disastrous experience with the musical drama “Smash,” you might expect network executives to ban all forms of music theater from the premises.

Instead, NBC Entertainment President Robert Greenblatt bet big on a live production of “The Sound of Music” — and won. The recent broadcast, starring former “American Idol” Carrie Underwood, drew 18.6 million viewers, three times more than expected.

NBC now says it plans to turn out a musical production every December.

Just what’s on the docket is unclear, but based on what Greenblatt told the New York Times, he plans to follow the same formula: Recruit a big-name star for a mainstream, family-friendly musical with plenty of hummable numbers.

Following those ground rules, we’ve come up with some suggestions we think will have the network — and audiences — whistling a happy tune.

“Grease”

Featuring: Daniel Radcliffe (right) and Lea Michele.

The pitch: Getting Harry Potter to do network TV might sound like a stretch, but he might slum it for the chance to show he doesn’t need a magic wand to look tough. Thanks to “Glee,” Michele has perfected the role of the outsider who falls for Mr. Popular.

“Wicked”

Featuring: Jennifer Hudson and Kerry Washington.

The pitch: Hudson’s dynamite voice and charisma would explode as Elphaba. Washington is petite, picture-pretty and perfect as Glinda. Getting the spectacle to fit into TV screens might be a challenge but the show is guaranteed box-office gold.

“My Fair Lady”

Featuring: Hugh Jackman and Miley Cyrus .

The pitch: Who better to tame the wild child than ’Enry ’Iggins? “Saturday Night Live” showed that Cyrus can handle both live TV and making fun of her image. Jackman may be hard to recruit, but his love for theater is so great, he may “Grow Accustomed to Her Face.”

 

“Fiddler on the Roof”

Featuring: Mandy Patinkin.

The pitch:  Are you kidding? Do we need to say more? It’s Mandy flippin’ Patinkin, America’s greatest Jewish actor/singer, playing musical theater’s richest Jewish role. He’s singing “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Tradition” and “Sunrise, Sunset.” Sold.

“Oklahoma”

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