Peter Pan Live: The Sun, The Moon, and the Quasi-Stars

Peter Pan Live! (Photo: Nino Munoz/NBC)
Peter Pan Live! (Photo: Nino Munoz/NBC)

Flying wires, a (real) dog, Christopher Walken, and a chorus full of Broadway veterans live on TV. What could possibly go wrong?

Last night, NBC took a second crack at producing a musical live on TV; after last year’s success with The Sound of Music, the WEIO team couldn’t help but watch, and comment, and drink, as a group. The good (?) news is, nothing went terribly wrong! The bad (?) news is, not a whole lot went particularly right, either.

The Plot

…..was there one? Seriously, though. Peter Pan comes and teaches the Darling kids how to fly, takes them to Neverland for Lost Boys hijinks like making poor grammatical choices and dumping cake out windows, and then (spoiler alert!) Captain Hook’s stunt double ends up dead at the end. How does this story take three hours to tell?

The Cast

Christopher Walken is an American treasure, and bless his heart for taking on this role.

Allison Williams did a fine job, especially given her relative lack of experience with musicals or in live settings. I think she deserves better than that-TV-show-which-shall-not-be-named (written by she-who-shall-not-be-named) and so would be happy if this performance catapults her to better things.

Christian Borle’s arms were basically absent as Mr Darling but fantastic as Smee, holding together basically all the scenes with Not-Quite-Dead Man Walken.

Nana was more competent at her job than both the maid (who didn’t even notice the lights were on, then died in the closet), and the mother, whose turndown service left something to be desired.

Thank goodness for the chorus, who worked overtime to bring some energy to the show. (I’m convinced NBC was somehow harnessing their work and using it to keep Walken upright.) Although the choreography was poorly designed in many places — some of the dances, especially the early ones, felt cramped — these folks executed it like the pros they are. This was one of the strengths of the format; being able to see Broadway dancers from much closer than the cheap seats I normally inhabit made their artistry and athleticism that much more apparent.

The WEIO Staff Q&A

Highlight of the night?

Mike: Nana checking left/right.

Mooch: From what I saw (2/3 of the production) the highlight was the chorus (which isn’t the best sign in a show that features starring roles).

Ryan: The first interlude between commercials where Hook was continuing to hold that note.

Worst part / most glaring mistake?

Mike: During the first flying around the bedroom scene you could see stage lights and over the top of the set walls.

Mooch: Too many high camera angles. Did nothing for what they were framing, plus it made the space limits into a liability.

Ryan: The flywire operators almost smashing Pan’s face into the bedroom walls on more than one occasion.

Your overall impression and grade?

Mike: C-. I still have no idea what the hell was going on.

Mooch: Incomplete. I missed a third of it, and what I did see felt like a dress rehearsal.

Ryan: B. It was solidly fine, not great. I wouldn’t be able to sit through it again, but I support any enterprise which helps pay the Newsies’ bills.

Other thoughts, comments, snark, etc?

Mike: It was a disappointing followup to SoM, but I hope this doesn’t stop NBC from continue to produce this kind of programming.

Mooch: I wanted a Glen Close cameo.

Ryan: #TeamNotMe

What do we WANT to see next year (regardless of whether it’s feasible)?

Mike: A full version of “Bombshell” from Smash

Mooch: Frak, I want to see Peter Pan again with a little more verve!

Ryan: Mary Poppins! They’ve figured out the flying part (sort of), so let’s build on that for the next round.

The Snark

Highlights from the live chat archive:

Ryan: Can we all appreciate the irony of a boy flying into a strange girl’s window saying “No one has ever touched me before”?

Mike: That will never hold up in court.


Ryan: So how much money do we think Walmart paid for their sponsorship?

Mike: As long as they don’t bring back that Walmart family thing they did during Sound of Music, we’ll be fine. No wait, I take that back. It was fun pretending they would be chased by Nazis two hours in.


Mike: That empire ribbon is not convincing me that Wendy is a child.

Ryan: Yeah, it’s more like “HEY LOOKIT BOOBS”

Mooch: Well now that you’ve both pointed it out that’s all I’m going to be able to see when I look at Wendy. Totally your faults.


Mike: I feel this dance sequence is an Arrested Development Hot Cops shoutout.


Mooch: Okay, I’m still just not clear on *how* I’d liveblog Gracepoint like Peter Pan.


Mike: To me [Peter Pan] seems like an odd follow-up choice to SoM. Maybe Music Man or Mary Poppins would have been more vibrant.

Ryan: Maybe we’ll get Mary Poppins next year. There’s a lot more flying in that one. As long as they don’t go for Spiderman …

Mike: “And now a musical adaptation of Titus Andronicus”

Ryan: #TeamJulieTaymor


Mooch: Meanwhile, in the commercials for ‘Exodus’ – I like it, except for all the shouting and techno music.

Mike: Was the eighth plague Skrillex?


Mooch: Would this production be improved by screaming goats?

Ryan: Yes.

Mike: Perhaps a combination of screaming goats and fainting goats.


Mooch: “Wait, are we talking Peter Pan or Gracepoint?” could be the motto of some section of our site.


Ryan: Okay, so we are supposed to tweet to save Tinkerbell.

Mooch: Well then, she’s not going to make it.

Ryan: CLAP YOUR HANDS AND CHEER EVERYBODY

Mooch: YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME RYAN BRAZELL!

Ryan: (For the record I am neither clapping nor cheering, but drinking. I’m convinced THAT is what saved Tinkerbell.)

Mooch: MIKE RUNS THIS SITE!

Mike: Follow the Green Fairy, Ryan.


Mooch: If Walken just started free associating, could we notice?


Mike: I think I figured out the origin of my total disinterest in pirates.

Mooch: The fact that they’re so easily defeated by small children?


Ryan: Dog, or person in dog suit?

Mooch: You see conspiracies everywhere.

Mike: Isn’t that all dogs? Have I been misinformed?


Mike: Is that Lady Edith?

Mooch: I don’t know British royalty.


Mike’s BF: Peter Pan is the ghost in the sex candle from that Unfortunate Episode of Star Trek TNG.


 

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