The recent resurgence of the live TV musical has yielded mixed results. While some brought new life to familiar material under impeccable direction (NBC’s The Wiz and Fox’s Grease), others seemed destined to become bad movie classics for all your drinking needs (NBC’s Peter Pan Live, wherein Christopher Walken as Captain Hook found new ways to give even less fucks than usual). Regardless of critical merit - or musical theatre nerd satisfaction - the trend seems set to continue for a few years more, and Fox is carving out a niche of a slightly edgier tone in comparison to the family friendly fare of NBC. Following Grease and the very mixed bag of The Rocky Horror Show Live, they’re now bringing the multiple Tony winning Rent to the small screen.
Rent, the landmark 90s musical by Jonathan Larson, has left behind one hell of a legacy: A 12 year Broadway run, a Pulitzer Prize, the launching pad for many a career (most notably Idina Menzel), a truly awful movie adaptation, and a parody in Team America: World Police. The re-imagining of Puccini’s
If you love the live TV musical trend, or just enjoy the inevitable live-tweeting frenzies, then don’t worry because there’s plenty more coming up: Fox is also doing a live-adaptation of the musical version of A Christmas Story, NBC is doing Jesus Christ Superstar, A Few Good Men (the first non-musical theatrical staging of this era), and Bye Bye Birdie with Jennifer Lopez, while ABC will air a non-live TV movie of Dirty Dancing with Abigail Breslin.
What musical would you like to see given the TV treatment? For me, I’m still holding out hope for a live TV take on Cabaret, a wonderful musical that’s in no way relevant to anything going on in the world right now.