Peter Pan Live! WAY Better than Last Year

We obviously have a lot to talk about: pros, cons, was it good? was it bad? was it way better than last year? So, let’s begin, shall we?

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Just starting off, you know going in that there will be talent. You have Broadway alums taking center stage, so right from the start the talent level this year was WAY above the talent level from last year. I’m not totally knocking the talent level of last year, but comparatively, the sheer number of Broadway actors this time around outweighs what they had.

The show started off pretty decently — except for the lights: it was really dim. I don’t know if that was on purpose or if that was a lighting error, but luckily that didn’t detract too much.

I thought, at first, the casting for Wendy, Michael, and John were spot on! Michael and John were adorable! So cute! I wish they had bigger roles.

Christian Borle gif

I love Christian Borle. He’s amazing. He was honestly one of the things that made last year’s The Sound of Music Live! worth watching, even if he had a very small role. Seeing him in this year’s show was very exciting — he’s a great actor and a great singer.

Allison Williams was beautiful. She has a great voice and she did a really good job considering she had to sing and fly (because if it were me, I totally would have fallen and broken something). I give her an A+ for her role; she was great. She was a little bit out of breath at some points, but I can let that go because she’s trying to, you know,  fly. 

Nana. I want that dog. I think they did a brilliant thing in casting an actual dog as Nana. Would I have liked to see a person playing the role of Nana? Yes. However, I think it was a very interesting choice to put an actual dog on the stage. However, we all know that there’s the whole idea that you never do shows with real animals and children. But this dog was so well trained that I didn’t see anything wrong at all. Crazy concept: you can cast a trained animal to play a trained animal!

We now get to Neverland. The juxtaposition between the dreariness of London and the children’s’ lives with the colors of Neverland was really cool. The sets were gorgeous, and I loved that the floor was a map. It was really fantastical, and a place that I really wanted to go to and explore. But there were a couple things that made me feel like I was in Wonderland rather than Neverland.

The transitions were really smooth, except for the points when you could see the tops of the sets. That actually bothered me a lot more than being able to see the flight wires — that, and seeing the rigging for the wires. There were just some misjudged camera angles.

Christopher Walken. He was hilarious! He was dancing! Now, I believe that some people should be pigeon-holed into parts: Woody Harrelson should always wield a shotgun, and Christopher Walken should always be required to tap dance. This was actually in his contract: he asked for more dance time on screen because of his dance background; he wanted to do this. Now his “sing-talking”…it brought me back to Hairspray where he was singing but not actually singing…but it’s Christopher Walken, so I can forgive him.

Honestly, my favorite parts were the pirates, their dancing, and Christian Borle as Smee. I just kept wanting to see the pirates and watch them dancing and singing, which totally goes against my whole previous conception that Pirates of the Caribbean pirates were the best pirates; I now believe that pirates should dance and sing much more.

The Lost Boys were awesome, but we all knew they were going to be awesome because all of the Lost Boys were from Newsies!Newsies! ran on Broadway and won Tonys and everyone was so excited about Newsies! because those boys are talented! Those boy can sing, and those boys can dance their butts off! I can’t say enough about the Lost Boys!

I really liked how they did Tiger Lily: I like the actress that they picked and I thought she was very talented. I was really angry, though, that she was silent for all three hours except she got about one line and a song! And she’s the coolest character ever because she’s a woman and the head of a tribe and she does have a big role originally — it was there. But she deserved a bigger speaking role in this show.

My big thing: this show dragged. An hour into it I was saying, “This needs to be over.” The pace was much too slow until about the two hour park. That’s not really okay for theatre — for anything.

Peter Pan Live! - Season 2014

And now onto Wendy. I must say this: I have a very big love/hate relationship with the character. She can be a great character if played by the right person and if played correctly. But Wendy can also be really annoying. At one point, I looked at her and saw Ginny Weasley from A Very Potter Musical — that annoying, winey voice. She was too clingy. She lost me. The Disney one even gets me angry, so I might be a bit biased. But you shouldn’t play Wendy like that. I know she’s young, I know she’s in love, but still, please, tone it down!

And Tinkerbell’s ‘death.’ Oh man. They had a hashtag. A HASHTAG. I did clap, but only because Allison Williams was staring into my soul — plus it’s Tinkerbell, you always have to save Tinkerbell. HOWEVER. Something like that on a live television broadcast doesn’t really work so well. A theatre production? Oh yeah, play with that audience! But they were talking to a camera.

All in all, did I think this year was better than last year? CLEARLY. Last year was a joke. Last year was horrid, a fluke. This year had its flaws, as all shows do. There were good and bad points. I think the good definitely outweighed the bad. I will give this show two thumbs up — good job NBC for making this year better. Don’t screw up next year or I will come after you.

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One thought on “Peter Pan Live! WAY Better than Last Year

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and people are fully entitled to like what they like, for any or no reason. But I only liked it because I have a thing for high camp and trash – so bad it’s good. To me, the problems all came down to miscasting and poor directorial decisions.

    You and I agree on the main problem. It was waaay too slow, and ending at 11pm is too late for young kids to watch! That’s the fault of the executive producers, who are veterans and who should certainly know how to cut to maintain pacing.

    My choice for the second-dumbest thing they did was having the brilliant Christian Borle, who earned a TONY for playing Captain Hook in a different play version, play Smee!!! Why violate the psychological symbolism of stern Mr. Darling turning into Captain Hook, as has been done in every other production since forever?

    Was it really better than last year’s show? Only if you have a DVR so you can scroll past those numerous, intrusive, annoying Wal-Mart commercials.

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