Why NBC should pick 'Cinderella' as next live musical
With the huge ratings success of The Sound of Music Live! (18.6 million viewers tuned in for the three-hour broadcast last week), it’s no surprise NBC has announced plans to do it all again. Next holiday season, NBC will once again stage a live musical. In an interview with The New York Times, NBC President Robert Greenblatt said the only requirements were that the musical would need to be family-friendly and have lots of recognizable songs.
While there are plenty of beloved musicals to choose from (Laura Benanti told EW her pick is White Christmas with her, Audra McDonald, Stephen Moyer, and Christian Borle), my personal pick is just a bit more, well, magical: Next year, I want NBC to stage a live production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella with Beyoncé as the Fairy Godmother.
Hear me out. Yes, it’s certainly unlikely. But it’s not impossible (Remember: Impossible things are happening every day!), and it’s really a win-win for all involved. First of all, Beyoncé would easily satisfy the “star component” of the production. While I would love NBC to go the same route MTV did with Legally Blonde: The Musical a few years ago and just tape the Broadway version with the original talented cast, I recognize that’s a big risk ratings-wise to take, and they really do need a “name” for promotion.
With all the drama in Beyoncé-land this year (WHERE IS THE ALBUM, BEY?), this could — like the Super Bowl performance — be another great showcase for her to explain that, yes, she’s simply the best, new album in 2014 or not. One of her idols, Whitney Houston, memorably played the Fairy Godmother in the 1997 TV movie version. While doing the show would require a fair amount of Beyoncé’s time, perhaps she could be sold on it as something to do for her daughter/children of the world. Real talk: Isn’t Beyoncé already kind of the world’s Fairy Godmother, spreading happiness and elaborate dance routines in her wake?
Stay with me here, musical theater nerds who are writing angry comments as we speak about how the whole problem with stunt casting is that it’s never as good as getting a cast full of theater vets: Beyoncé is such a huge name that her casting would free producers up to be able to cast other roles — like Cinderella herself — with amazingly talented theater pros. Heck, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella is currently on Broadway starring the fabulous Laura Osnes (who actually got her start on that NBC reality show Grease: You’re the One That I Want!). If Osnes is no longer with the Broadway production next year, bring her in.
Beyoncé or no Beyoncé, Cinderella is a great choice because while there are famous people, like Houston, associated with it, it doesn’t have one iconic portrayal that everyone sitting at home is going to instantly compare it to, unlike Sound of Music. That would allow the cast to make the roles their own, while also giving the public the beloved musical moments they remember from childhood — “Ten Minutes Ago,” “In My Own Little Corner,” and “Impossible” would all be there.
Is NBC PRESENTS: BEYONCE IN CINDERELLA a long shot? Totally. But it’s no crazier than a plain yellow pumpkin becoming a golden carriage.
What are you hoping to see staged on NBC next year? Share your picks both realistic (updated West Side Story!) and no-so-likely (Lady Gaga in My Fair Lady!) below.