Girls co-star Allison Williams has been cast as the title character in NBC’s December 4 live staging of Peter Pan Live!. Williams, who has sung on her HBO show and in various other projects, is a classically trained singer whose online singing videos have logged millions of views. (watch below one of the most popular ones, which she uploaded shortly after graduating from Yale in 2010) She will star opposite Christopher Walken, who had been cast as Captain Hook. “We think she will bring the perfect blend of ‘boyish’ vulnerability and bravado to save the day against Christopher Walken’s powerful Captain Hook,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said. Williams, daughter of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, said that she’d wanted to play Peter Pan since she was about 3, “so this is a dream come true.” “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?” Craig Zadan and Neil Meron executive produce the special.
The casting of the lead proved crucial for the success of NBC’s live staging of The Sound of Music last year as Carrie Underwood’s broad fan base came out in droves, especially in the middle of the country where there were numerous viewing parties. Williams, who landed the role on Girls right out of college, is not yet a household name and doesn’t have a following of the size of Underwood, a country superstar. The original Broadway production of Peter Pan, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins and featuring the iconic songs I’m Flying, I’ve Gotta Crow, I Won’t Grow Up, and Never Never Land, opened on Broadway in 1954. It starred Mary Martin as Peter and Cyril Ritchard as Captain Hook, both of whom won Tony Awards for their performances.