Live musical broadcasts to get excited about

Sierra Boggess as Ariel in Broadway's Little MermaidLive television musicals are all the rage now thanks to NBC reviving this “appointment television” trend back in 2013 with its adapted revival of The Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood.


Since then, there’s been Peter Pan Live! by NBC, The Wiz Live! by NBC, Grease: Live by Fox, The Passion by Fox, Rocky Horror Picture Show by Fox, Hairspray Live! by NBC and Dirty Dancing by ABC. Newsday offered a recap for those who are just catching up to this TV trend.


So what’s up next? Quite a bit it seems! ABC, Fox and NBC all have live musicals planned for the next year or two.


First, as part of the rebirth of its dormant The Wonderful World of Disney brand, ABC will present The Little Mermaid Live! on October 3. This two-hour special event seeks to mix Disney’s beloved animated film The Little Mermaid with live musical performances in an intriguing live action/animation hybrid presentation.


In December, Fox will broadcast A Christmas Story, based on the Broadway musical of the beloved 1983 film of the same name. The story follows a Midwestern boy who desperately wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, recent Tony Award nominees for Dear Evan Hansen and the lyricists of La La Land’s Academy Award-winning song “City of Stars,” who also scored A Christmas Story: The Musical, will compose several new songs for the live TV event.


Heading into 2018, Fox will also present Rent in honor of the hit Broadway musical’s 20th anniversary. No premiere date has been announced yet.


Plus, in 2018, NBC will air live productions of Bye Bye Birdie and Jesus Christ Superstar. Starring Jennifer Lopez, Bye Bye Birdie was pushed back from December 2017 to sometime in 2018 because of its leading lady’s schedule conflicts. Jesus Christ Superstar will premiere on Easter Sunday – on April 1, 2018. Variety also reports that a few other live productions are on deck at NBC. Keep your eyes peeled for more shows!


Photo: Sierra Boggess performed the role of Ariel to critical acclaim in The Little Mermaid on Broadway. The cast has not been announced for ABC’s The Little Mermaid Live!.