Jennifer Lopez is set to star in live television musical Bye Bye Birdie next year.
The 47-year-old singer will play Rosie DeLeon, the girlfriend of fictional rock star Conrad Birdie’s manager Albert Peterson. When Birdie, a character originally inspired by the phenomenon that was Elvis Presley, is drafted into the Army, Rosie and Albert team up in a plan to get Birdie to give a high school girl “one last kiss” live on The Ed Sullivan Show before he leaves.
Jennifer will also executive produce the one-off, alongside Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Benny Medina, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, while it will be produced by her company Nuyorican Productions and Universal Television.
After the news was announced, Jennifer said in a statement: “Broadway musicals and films fueled my childhood and Bye Bye Birdie was one of my favorites. I’m proud to be a part of the NBC family with Shades of Blue and I thought it would be a blast to take on one of their big live musicals.”
Jennifer took time out from her current Las Vegas residency to go to NBC herself and pitch the idea for Bye Bye Birdie to be their next live television musical, following the success of Sound of Music Live!, Peter Pan Live!, Grease Live! and the upcoming Hairspray Live!.
NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt revealed the news during a Paley Media Council conversation at the Paley Center for Media on Thursday.
“She came to us and said ‘I love this show, I discovered the music,’” Greenblatt said. “She has a big show in Vegas where she does Lot of Livin’, which is a song from Bye Bye Birdie.”
The television special will be written by Harvey Fierstein, and is expected to air in December 2017. Bye Bye Birdie was originally written as a stage musical, and won a Tony Award in 1961 for best musical as well as a gong for best actor in a musical for Dick Van Dyke’s portrayal of Albert. The production was then adapted into a movie in 1963, with Van Dyke reprising his role as Albert and Janet Leigh starring as Rosie.0