It’s time to stock up on pixie dust, because NBC’s “Peter Pan Live!” is on TONIGHT! Starring Allison Williams and Oscar winner Christopher Walken, this is the classic tale of a boy who can fly, fights pirates, and WON’T GROW UP! Believe it or not, Peter Pan has been around for over 100 years. Created by J.M Barrie in 1902, there have been books, plays, movies, and of course, a musical, based off the Peter’s adventures. Some of the famous songs you’ll hear tonight are “I Won’t Grow Up,” “I Gotta Crow,” “I’m Flying,” and “Neverland.” And here are some more fun facts about Peter Pan.
1.You may be wondering why Peter, a young British BOY, is played by a woman in tonight’s special. The tradition of women playing Peter dates back to the early 1900s, possibly because casting a female allowed Peter to be the same size as his three friends from the nursery, Wendy, John, and Michael Darling. A grown man would be too large! Famous women who have played Peter through the years include Mary Martin, Sandy Duncan, and Cathy Rigby. And with Allison Williams, the tradition continues.
2. This is not the first time NBC has aired a live version of “Peter Pan.” In 1955 (almost 60 years ago!) they aired a live broadcast of the Broadway musical production starring theater star Mary Martin. The original version of Mary’s run as Peter opened at the famous Winter Garden Theater in NYC and had 152 performances. She won a Tony Award for playing the role.
3. For cartoon fans that prefer animation over live action, check out Disney’s iconic version of “Peter Pan” from 1953. It was their 14th animated movie, and people still love it today! In fact, it was one of Walt Disney’s favorite stories. He wanted to make Peter Pan and release it right after his first film, “Snow White,” but he had to wait a few years to get the rights. There were rumors that Tinker Bell’s look was based on famous movie star Marilyn Monroe, but she was really based off of an actress named Margaret Kerry.
4. You may not know that Disney Jr.’s hit animated musical show, “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” is also based on Peter Pan. Captain Hook, Smee, and Tick-Tock the Crocodile all come from the original Disney movie…but not Jake. He’s new!
5. It’s been actress Allison Williams’ life long dream to play Peter Pan. She even has a picture on Instagram of her dressed as Peter at the age of three. So cute! Her dad, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, is so proud of her, he announced that she got the role in his newscast. We can’t wait to see Allison take flight tonight!
Photo from Allison Williams' Instagram account
By Dema Hanna