NBC’s next live musical, Hairspray Live (starring Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Kristin Chenoweth, Ariana Grande Latte and Martin Short), hasn’t happened yet, but they have already announced their live musical for 2017. We already have the Bye Bye Birdie movie starring Ann-Margret and the 1995 TV movie starring Vanessa Williams (and Chynna Phillips!), but for some reason, NBC believes we need yet another version. In December 2017, NBC will cough up Bye Bye Birdie Live starring Jennifer Lopez. NBC probably thought, “Well, we can’t do any worse than Peter Pan, so fuckit, put JLo in Bye Bye Birdie.”
Bye Bye Birdie is basically about an Elvis-like star who tries to bone a 15-year-old before he goes off to the army. Justin Bieber would be perfect for that role. The Elvis-like star, I mean. Although, he’d be pretty perfect for the 15-year-old too. Here’s a longer synopsis:
When the draft selects rock star Conrad Birdie, his fans are devastated, but none more than struggling songwriter Albert Peterson, whose song Birdie was just about to record. Albert’s longtime girlfriend, Rosie, pushes Albert to write a new tune that Birdie will perform on television to a fan selected in a contest. The scheme works, with young Ohio teenager Kim McAfee declared the winner, but no one has counted on the jealous wrath of her boyfriend.
The Hollywood Reporter says that during a Paley Center panel last night, NBC’s chairman said that JLo, who stars in Shades of Blue on the network, came to him and said that she loves the Bye Bye Birdie movie and wants to do it. JLo will play Rosie and also executive produce. Harvey Fierstein, who also wrote the TV script for Hairspray Live, will write the TV script for Bye Bye Birdie Live.
Bye Bye Birdie has always been a little too happy and chirpy for me, but NBC’s annual live musical has become one of my favorite things. Getting drunk while taking in a big ole’ mess is my favorite pastime. But I may have to watch with Ziploc bags taped around my ears. The sound of perky teens screech-singing and JLo belting out a musical theater song will make my eardrums escape out of my ear holes and the bag will be there to catch them.
And my pick for Kim McAfee in Bye Bye Birdie Live is Ann-Margret. Hey, if Lindsay Lohan can get away with playing a 29-year-old Liz Taylor in Liz & Dick, then 75-year-old Ann-Margret can get away with playing a 15-year-old.