JLoByeByeBirdie.com is proud to present a comprehensive list of performers that may be in consideration for NBC’s upcoming ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’
The role of Rosie has been cast. Jennifer Lopez (JLo) will play the Latino principal, as well as serve as Executive Producer.
Opposite JLo, casting ideas for the lead role of Albert, include Neil Patrick Harris, John Stamos, Matthew Broderick, Sean Hayes. All four are Broadway and TV veterans, with Neil Patrick Harris being the most decorated candidate in terms of awards. John Stamos stands out as having played the role on Broadway.
In the supporting role of Elvis-inspired Conrad Birdie, candidates include TV stars Chris Carmack and Darren Criss, pop stars Ricky Martin and Nick Jonas, and live theater stars Adam Pascal and Rikki Lee Travolta. At 5’7” and 5’8” respectively, Darren Criss and Nick Jonas may be too minute in stature to do justice to the role. However, Nick Jonas remains the early favorite to play Birdie, although Rikki Lee Travolta remains the sentimental favorite – as that he is the only one of the candidates to have played the role. At 5’11” Chris Carmack and Rikki Lee Travolta have the imposing stature and inherent charm to do justice to the role. Adam Pascal and Ricky Martin are similarly qualified, standing 6’.
As for the central role of Kim MacAfee – the girl rock star Conrad Birdie is to kiss on the Ed Sullivan show before going off to war – the contenders are varied and interesting. Music superstar Taylor Swift is a prime candidate to play Kim. At 5’10 she embodies the “too tall” reference in the Telephone Hour song. Vanessa Hudgens has proven herself on television and on stage – most recently appearing in ‘Grease Live!’ Salena Gomez is another well rounded contender to play Kim. Salena has excelled as both a television actress and as a recording artist. ‘Nashville’ star Hayden Panettiere is another multi-talented actress who could do justice eto the role of Kim. Although she is slightly older than the other candidates, Hayden Panettiere has the youthful looks to pull off the teenage role (Natalie Wood was 25 when she played 16 year old Maria in the film version of ‘West Side Story.’
The role of Kim’s over-protective father is a comic gem. There is no shortage of character actors who could provide a winning presence opposite Lopez. Kelsey Grammer, Alec Baldwin, Nathan Lane, Jim Belushi, Brent Spiner, and Terry Bradshaw each has a unique comedic style that they could bring to the table. It’s not the biggest role in the musical, but is a memorable one that can steal the show.
Sweet Apple Mayor:
While there are many directions the producers could go with in casting the Mayor of Sweet Apple, only one name truly stands out – that of Dick Van Dyke. He is the actor who originated the role of Albert on Broadway and reprised his role in the 1963 film adaptation. Van Dyke is scheduled to do a cameo appearance in the new ‘Marry Poppins’ sequel – so he’s obviously not afraid to visit projects he is affiliated with, but in a new capacity.
Mae Peterson (Albert’s mother):
Originally recommended by the theater website TheaterMania.com, Carol Burnette is the spot-on favorite to play Albert’s controlling mother Mae Peterson. Carol Burnette is a brilliant comedian and would provide a stellar performance.
Hugo Peabody (Kim’s boyfriend):
JLoByeByeBirdie.com has only one name to offer for the role of Hugo Peabody – that of ‘Glee’ star Chris Colfer. He has the youthful looks, stellar voice, and comedic timing to make the role his own.