JLo Bye Bye Birdie Casting Scouting Report: Ricky Martin

JLo Bye Bye Birdie Casting Scouting Report: Ricky Martin

As Executive Producers Jennifer Lopez, Neil Meron, and Craig Zadan and Directors Jerry Mitchell and Alex Rudzinski prepare for the December 2017 production of ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’, the race for who will be playing Conrad Birdie is intensifying.

Pop star Nick Jonas and musical theater star Rikki Lee Travolta may be the popular choices according to rumors and fan excitement, but there are other stellar candidates to consider.

One such candidate is Ricky Martin. Like Nick Jonas, Ricky Martin is a bonafide pop star. Like Rikki Lee Travolta his is a tall, handsome musical theater star. His Broadway credits include ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Evita’. Plus, it would put another Latino in the cast alongside JLo.

As casting choices narrow down in anticipation of NBC’s ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’, don’t be surprised if Ricky Martin joins Nick Jonas and Rikki Lee Travolta at the top of the dream cast list.

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Harvey Fierstein Updating Bye Bye Birdie Live! to Be Less ‘Sexist’

Harvey Fierstein Updating Bye Bye Birdie Live! to Be Less ‘Sexist’

In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, screenwriter Harvey Fierstein revealed that he is making changes to the script for NBC’s ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ to make Jennifer Lopez’s character Rosie more forward-thinking.

“Having Rosie be Albert’s secretary whom he’s having an affair with is sexist and old-fashioned,” says Fierstein.

Instead, Fierstein has opted to make Rosie and Albert teachers who are co-workers and discover would-be rock star Conrad Birdie together.

“He’s the English teacher who writes a song, and she’s the music teacher who says, ‘I’ve got a great kid with a great voice,'” explains Fierstein, who also notes that some lyrics to the opening number “An English Teacher” will changed to better fit the new character dynamics.

Fierstein also wrote the teleplay adaptation of t ‘Hairspray Live’ in which he also stared as Edna Turnblad. He previously won a Tony for the role on Broadway.

The gravel-voiced actor is best known for the play and film ‘Torch Song Trilogy’, which he wrote and starred in both Off-Broadway and on Broadway. The 1982 Broadway production won him two Tony Awards, for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play, two Drama Desk Awards, for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Actor in a Play, and the Theatre World Award, and the film adaptation earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Male Lead.

Fierstein also wrote the book for the musical ‘La Cage aux Folles’, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, and wrote the book for the Tony Award-winning ‘Kinky Boots’. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2007.

 

Casting Speculation for Bye Bye Birdie Live Intensifies on Pop Star Nick Jonas

Casting Speculation for Bye Bye Birdie Live Intensifies on Pop Star Nick Jonas

NBC’s ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ scheduled for 2017 recently announced its directors: Jerry Mitchell and Alex Rudzinski.

Previously announced is that Jennifer Lopez will star as Rosie and executive produce alongside Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Benny Medina, Craig Zadan, and Neil Meron.

As the production date starts to grow near, audiences are starting to voice suggestions for additional casting.

One name to have come up recently in the press, is Nick Jonas – a bonafide pop star and Broadway alum.

In a live interview with Watch What Happens Live, when a listener suggested Jonas for the role of Conrad Birdie, Lopez responded that they are looking at many different people right now, and Jonas is definitely on the list.

Jonas is best known as one of the Jonas Brothers, a band formed with he and his brothers Kevin and Joe. He has appeared in films such as ‘Night at the Museum: Battle for the Smithsonian’ and ‘Careful What You Wish For.’ Stage performances include ‘Les Miserables’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Annie Get Your Gun’, and ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying.’

As Lopez alluded to in the interview, Jonas is a prime candidate to play Birdie, but not the only one in consideration.

In 2016 when the ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ project was first announced, Theatermania.com offered the casting suggestion of Zac Efron as Birdie. Although Efron has the looks and talent to offer a knockout performance as Birdie, industry speculation is that he is committed to his blossoming film career and would not be looking to do a television project such as this.

JLOByeByeBirdie.com also offered up suggestions of Adam Pascal, Darren Criss, and Rikki Lee Travolta for the role of Birdie.

Pascal is a Broadway veteran whose credits include ‘Rent’, ‘Aida’, ‘Cabaret’, ‘Memphis’, ‘Chicago, Disaster’, and ‘Something Rotten.’

Criss sprang to fame on the television series ‘Glee’, but is also a seasoned Broadway star with starring appearances in ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying’ and ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch.’

Travolta is, perhaps, the most interesting casting suggestion. Travolta was the first celebrity guest star in ‘Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding’ and in 2005 was named alongside Donny Osmond and Patrick Cassidy as one of the Top Three Headliners in the world for ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’. However Travolta ending up in the hospital and opted to take a break from his performing career to focus on rehabilitation from a life-changing disability.

In 2016 Travolta made a triumphant return to the stage as McMurphy in a Midwest revival of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, earning rave reviews on his “come back.” For the role, he was nominated as best actor for a Broadway World Chicago Theatre Award.

He may be a longshot, but you can’t help rooting for the guy. Plus, casting an actor like Travolta could be good PR for NBC, showing a willingness to work with the disabled.

On March 27, Jonas responded to the rumors of his joining JLo in the cast of ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ stating that the two had talked but warned that it may or may not happen.

As audiences eagerly await notification of who will be starring alongside JLo in NBC’s ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’, other popular names will likely be suggested. In the end, the expectations for the live musical telecast are high.

Directors Announced for NBC’s ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’

Directors Announced for NBC’s ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’

NBC has added stage director Jerry Mitchell and live-television director Alex Rudzinski to the creative team for its next live musical event, ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ Mitchell and Rudzinski worked together on last year’s NBC musical, ‘Hairspray Live!’

Mitchell served as choreographer on ‘Hairspray Live!’ and is the director of Broadway musical ‘Get On Your Feet,’ about the life of Gloria Estefan. He is a Tony winner for 2013’s ‘Kinky Boots’ and 2005’s revival of ‘La Cage Aux Folles.’

Rudzinski, who directed ‘Hairspray Live!’ is director and co-executive producer of NBC’s upcoming dance competition series ‘World of Dance,’ which is executive produced by ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ star and executive producer Jennifer Lopez. He won an Emmy for Fox’s ‘Grease Live!’ and has directed 22 seasons of ABC’s ‘Dancing with the Stars.’

JLo Bye Bye Birdie Casting Scouting Report: Taylor Swift

JLo Bye Bye Birdie Casting Scouting Report: Taylor Swift

In the opening number “Telephone Hour” of ‘Bye Bye Birdie’, the teens of Sweet Apple Ohio state sing that Kim MacAfee is “too tall.” At 5’10, singing sensation Taylor Swift certainly fits the bill.

Although Swift has not done a lot of acting, she is not totally green. In 2009 she appeared as a rebellious teenager in CBS’s ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.’ She made her feature film debut in ‘Valentine’s Day.’

And, of course, as a 10 time Grammy winner, she knows how to deliver a song.

Executive Producers Jennifer Lopez, Neil Meron, and Craig Zadan may not want to cast an actress as Kim that would overshadow JLo’s Rosie. But if they are looking for name talent, they can’t do much better than Swift.

JLo Bye Bye Birdie Casting Scouting Report: Oliver Platt

JLo Bye Bye Birdie Casting Scouting Report: Oliver Platt

One of the most overlooked roles in ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ is that of Ed Sullivan.

There have been shows with Ed Sullivan’s voice coming from off-stage and those wherein an actor portrays Sullivan on-stage.

For NBC’s upcoming ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’ executive producers Jennifer Lopez, Craig Zadan, and Neil Meron may want to give thought to securing Oliver Platt for the role of Sullivan.

Not only does Platt have the jowls and hairline to give a more than credible performance as Sullivan, as the star of ‘Chicago Med’ he is already under contract with NBC.

Platt has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award, a Tony Award, as well as multiple Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Awards. He has also appeared on Broadway in ‘Shining City’ and “Guys and Dolls.’

JLo Bye Bye Birdie Casting Scouting Report: Darren Criss

JLo Bye Bye Birdie Casting Scouting Report: Darren Criss

Conrad Birdie may not be the lead role in NBC’s upcoming ‘Bye Bye Birdie Live!’, but it is the central role around which all the other drama takes place.

One option producers Jennifer Lopez, Craig Zadan, and Neil Meron may want to give thought to is Darren Criss.

Criss is most famous for playing Blaine Anderson in the FOX series ‘Glee’. He has also starred on Broadway in ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ and most recently in ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch.’ He made his feature film debut in the comedy ‘Girl Most Likely.”

Although a little on the short side, Criss has the dark looks of a Conrad Birdie, thanks to a mother from the Philippines and a father of English, German, and Irish decent.

He is a talented singer, dancer, and actor – the kind of true triple threat that could breathe life into the role of Conrad Birdie.