One of the Girls is heading to NBC for a big one-night-only gig.
The network announced on Wednesday that Allison Williams, one of the stars of the HBO hit Girls and the daughter of NBC veteran reporter Brian Williams, has been tapped to play the title role in its live version of Peter Pan, set to premiere on Thursday, December 4. Christopher Walken was chosen to play Captain Hook in the show earlier this month.
“I have wanted to play Peter Pan since I was about three years old, so this is a dream come true,” Williams said in a statement about landing the role. “It’s such an honor to be a part of this adventure, and I’m very excited to get to work with this extraordinarily talented team. And besides, what could go wrong in a live televised production with simultaneous flying, sword fighting and singing?”
Although The Sound of Music Live! premiered to some mixed reviews last December, it also premiered to huge ratings, regardless of what people thought of it. As a result, plans to stage another live musical around the holidays were in the works within days. NBC announced it had chosen Peter Pan back in January and confirmed last year’s producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron would be reuniting to handle the second musical (the duo were also behind the 2002 movie adaptation of Chicago and produced this year’s Oscars).
At the time, reports said the title role would likely be played by a male, in contrast with several previous productions, but producers ultimately decided on Williams, whom Zadan and Meron call a “great find.” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said the network “couldn’t be happier” about the choice.
“We think she will bring the perfect blend of ‘boyish’ vulnerability and bravado to save the day against Christopher Walken’s powerful Captain Hook,” Greenblatt added.
The live show will come nearly 60 years after NBC first adapted Peter Pan for TV in 1955. Mary Martin, perhaps the most well-known actress to play the mischievous character, gave an Emmy-winning performance in the production, which was the first Broadway production ever shown in color and a record-setter at the time for the most viewers for a single TV program (65 million). Martin also starred in the 1954 original Broadway version, for which she won a Tony, and went on to star in two additional Peter Pan stagings on NBC.
The Sound of Music Live! pulled in around 18.6 million viewers on its initial airing last year and marked the network’s most successful Thursday night, excluding sports, since 2009.