Bye, bye, 'Birdie.'
Musical fans hoping to see Jennifer Lopez take the lead role in NBC’s Bye Bye Birdie Live! will be waiting a long, long time. EW can confirm the network has decided to postpone the production, a live musical adaptation of the hit Broadway show, which was initially scheduled to bow this December.
Following NBC’s Hairspray Live!, Lopez was cast in the lead role of Rose “Rosie” Alvarez, the secretary and patient girlfriend-hoping-to-be-fiancée of a frazzled songwriter and music agent, Albert Peterson. Her schedule, however, proved too jam-packed to fit the musical in this year alongside her role on Shades of Blue, her hosting and producing duties on theThe World of Dance reality competition series, and performing in Las Vegas.
A source assures EW that NBC is “still very excited about the production.”
Harvey Fierstein, who starred in Hairspray and adapted the book for television, was announced to adapt Bye Bye Birdie for the NBC telecast.
“The role of Rosie onstage… is such a great role, and it got watered down a little bit in the movie version,” Lopez said during the Television Critics Association press tour in January. “She was Puerto Rican, and Albert, who she was with, was not marrying her [because] his mother did not like that she was Puerto Rican. There’s all these dynamics that were in the original play that didn’t make it into the movie.”
The super star promised the adaptation would “push the envelope of how great these live television musicals can be.”
A production team had previously been assembled for Bye Bye Birdie Live! with Lopez, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Benny Medina, Craig Zadan, and Neil Meron executive producing. NBC then announced in mid-May to be tackling Jesus Christ Superstar! as the network’s next live musical with creators Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and fellow producers Marc Platt, Zadan, and Meron.
“Casting has just begun, but we want to fill out this classic show with as many recording artists as possible to give proper voice to what is the original rock opera score,” Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, said.