TV MusicalsLatest News and Opinion
Posted Wednesday 6/13/18 at 1:59PM EDT
Disney Channel's Freaky Friday musical will premiere on a Friday in August
The newest version of the classic mother-daughter body-swap will air on Friday, Aug. 10.
Posted Thursday 5/24/18 at 7:14PM EDT
Hair will be NBC's next live musical, but don't expect to see the show's famous nudity
The 50-year-old Broadway musical about young hippies living in New York City will air in spring 2019 as Hair Live! That means the planned Bye, Bye Birdie musical, which was to have starred Jennifer Lopez, will continue being on the back burner. “I’m overjoyed that James Rado and Galt MacDermot are trusting us with their masterpiece Hair, one of the most original shows ever conceived for Broadway with one of the greatest scores,” said NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt in a statement. “These songs are part of the vocabulary of popular music, and this rebellious story of young people protesting and standing up for what they believe in is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. This will be the perfect live event, and I’m looking forward to seeing Craig and Neil, along with our partners at MGM and the original creators bring the audience to their feet as they experience these beloved songs and recognizable young characters.”
Posted Tuesday 4/17/18 at 7:01PM EDT
Riverdale unveils two big musical numbers from the Carrie musical episode
Songs from Carrie: The Musical will be available to stream after the airing of Wednesday's episode.
Posted Monday 4/02/18 at 9:00PM EDT
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert offered three lessons in staging a TV musical
One lesson is that concert staging works. "The larger lesson is one that all live TV musicals can learn from: Strict photorealism is not your friend," says Constance Grady. "The trick is to borrow from performance styles that already have accepted cinematographies, that audiences know how to watch on television already. We’re used to watching rock concerts on TV. We know what they’re supposed to look like." Another lesson is that sung-through shows, where the audience doesn't have to move between "different layers of artifice and emotional reality" between dialogue and songs, help keep the energy level of viewers high, says Grady. The third lesson is that spectacle is the most important. "In Jesus Christ Superstar Live," she says, "the spectacle was as simple and evocative as the shot of the back of the stage opening up, forming a cross made out of negative space, as Jesus’s cross floats back into the fog. It’s a moment that would do very little in a produced movie, and the effects could be tricky to handle in a theater. But in a live TV musical special, it became the kind of extraordinary, haunting image that future live TV musicals would do well to emulate."
- "A blasphemous piece of well-crafted trash": Much of religious America hated Jesus Christ Superstar Live because old criticisms die hard
- It's a minor miracle!: Jesus Christ Superstar Live "was the closest that live television has come to creating a hybrid new form, combining elements of epic cinema, the stage musical, and the concert film," says Matt Zoller Seitz
- Hamilton's Brandon Victor Dixon stole the show as Judas
- TV musicals are judged on the "outright disaster" scale, but Jesus Christ Superstar Live never registered as a joke
Posted Monday 4/02/18 at 2:55PM EDT
Jesus Christ Superstar Live tops Easter Sunday with 9.6 million viewers
The John Legend-led NBC TV musical was No. 1 on Sunday night, beating American Idol. Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert also topped previous TV musicals like Fox's A Christmas Story Live! and The Passion, and NBC's Hairspray Live! and Peter Pan Live!
Posted Monday 4/02/18 at 9:51AM EDT
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert had a lot of excess, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing
NBC's latest live musical was a lot to take in, says Maureen Ryan. "This musical threw together glitter, sequins, leather, writhing hotties, a few big performances pitched to the last row, and camerawork that often felt as though it was hopped up on too many lattes," she says. "Actually, the ragged edges of a unifying concept did emerge over the course of the NBC musical’s two-hour-and-20-minute running time: If its philosophy could be summed up in one word, 'excess' would just about cover it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But this live show was a lot. The musical was intensely earnest, often endearingly so."
- This was the best TV musical yet, providing viewers with an actual spiritual experience
- It was a "very successful experiment" that marked the revival of the TV musical
- The emotional climax saved the overblown first half
- NBC wisely surrounded John Legend with spectacular theater vets
- It was an exhilarating production that revolutionized the "still-evolving live musical format"
- The star power was equaled by depth of feeling and characterization in all the principals
- Chrissy Teigen took on trolls, but had a fun time live-tweeting her husband as Jesus
- Jesus Christ Superstar lyricist Tim Rice tweeted: "Good to see something we wrote a while back still appreciated"
- Here are seven things you didn't see on the TV broadcast
Posted Friday 3/30/18 at 9:30PM EDT
Jesus Christ Superstar Live director plans to "send many thousands of volts of surprising energy through a TV screen"
Director David Leveaux says Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert is a new experience, even for veterans of live TV musicals. "There are so many raw live elements of this show, it’s quite new," he says. "They may not admit it, but some people are quite nervous because you can’t control everything. That’s what makes it exciting. And if it fails, we’re hoping to fail forward.”
Posted Tuesday 3/13/18 at 10:17PM EDT
Check out Jesus Christ Superstar Live's rehearsal photos
John Legend, Alice Cooper and Sara Bareilles have been busy in New York City prepping for the April 1 Easter Sunday performance. ALSO: See NBC's promo clip.
Posted Friday 3/02/18 at 2:13PM EST
NBC delays Bye Bye Birdie Live again due to Jennifer Lopez's busy schedule
Lopez currently has two movies in the works, plus her NBC shows Shades of Blue and World of Dance. Her busy schedule has kept her from rehearsing for the lead role in Bye Bye Birdie Live, which was originally supposed to air last year before it was rescheduled for this year.
Posted Thursday 2/22/18 at 2:24PM EST
Hamilton's Brandon Victor Dixon to play Judas on NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar Live
The two-time Tony nominee will play Jesus’ betrayer in the Easter Sunday live musical.
Posted Sunday 1/07/18 at 3:33AM EST
Sara Bareilles joins NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! as Mary Magdalene
The singer-songwriter will star opposite John Legend and Alice Cooper on the April 1 Easter Sunday production.
Posted Tuesday 12/19/17 at 10:26AM EST
John Legend to play Jesus in NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar live musical
Legend will play the title role on the Easter Sunday April 1 live production of the famous musical, officially titled Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert! This score demands a singer with an amazing range and an actor with great depth, and there isn’t anyone better to bring this story to a new audience,” says NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt, in a statement. “His casting is also groundbreaking as the traditional image of Christ will be seen in a new way.” Legend said he’s “humbled” to accept the role, adding: “We've already formed an incredible team, and, as we finish casting, I'm certain we will put together some of the greatest talents around to do this work justice.” ALSO: Can Legend revive the live TV musical genre after Fox's A Christmas Story Live! stumbled?
Posted Monday 12/18/17 at 5:56PM EST
About 4.5 million watched A Christmas Story Live! — compared to 12.2 million for Grease Live!
Even NBC’s notorious Peter Pan Live! had more than double the viewership of last night’s Fox musical.
Posted Monday 12/18/17 at 11:28AM EST
Fox’s disappointing A Christmas Story Live! was a “choppy, flashy affair” that never let its audience breathe
“For viewers who love the original film, the musical didn’t look much like it,” says Sonia Saraiya. “The film has an intimate quality, but the musical was a big, loud, constantly moving production. And in place of adult Ralphie as onscreen narrator, the musical placed him onstage —a ghost unseen by his younger self or the rest of his family. The effect was that adult Ralphie (Matthew Broderick) was stalking or even haunting the family of his youth, while shamelessly gossiping about them to the audience at home. It’s creepy, and the device never quite resolved itself as the musical wears on. But in Broderick’s defense, the musical never quite resolved itself, either. It’s a choppy, flashy affair, with so many different sets that it struggled to cultivate a sense of place.”
- A Christmas Story Live! had a “too-gooey center and a phony sense of seasonal exuberance”
- A Christmas Story Live! missed the light fun of the holiday classic
- Turns out A Christmas Story becomes grating once you add music
- The co-directors “threw down the gauntlet from the start with a technically complex opening that moved with cinematic fluidity”
- The staging was clear and fun and the performances ranged from good to fantastic
- Surprisingly, most of the gaffes came from stage veteran Matthew Broderick
- Broderick was a high *AND* a low of the entire production
- The Greatest Showman live movie trailer “was one big act of controlled chaos on the studio lot”
- Twitter joyously roasted A Christmas Story Live!
- The original Christmas Story barely has enough story to sustain a 90-minute movie, let alone a three-hour musical
- How A Christmas Story Live! made the Chinese restaurant scene less racist
- Every other broadcast show beat A Christmas Story Live! in preliminary ratings
Posted Friday 12/15/17 at 10:35PM EST
How will A Christmas Story Live! differentiate itself from the iconic holiday movie?
“Audiences know the movie back and forth,” says executive producer Marc Platt, who also produced Grease Live!. “So, it’s really our responsibility to make sure that we’re digging into the emotional moments. It’s really a dance that we’re always trying to do to figure out in how we can make a moment larger than life and then figure out how to preserve the moments that you really want to see. Trying to find that kind of balance is really important.”